Fecal Odor Returns to La Jolla Cove Area

Fecal Odor Returns to La Jolla Cove Area

After spending $50,000 cleaning up bird droppings, officials now blame sea lions for smell

Residents of La Jolla Cove are again complaining of the stench of animal droppings, only four months after the city spent $50,000 to eradicate the smell. However, this time it is primarily sea lion feces rather than bird droppings that are causing the unpleasant odor.

Last June, former San Diego mayor Bob Filner initiated the removal of the stench from La Jolla Cove by authorizing the cleanup of the bird poop. Blue Eagle Cleaning Distribution, Inc. sprayed the rocks with a natural bacteria that ate away the fecal waste over the course of two treatments.

The problem was reportedly eliminated and the stench tempered. However, the cleaning was supposed to be an immediate, short-term solution. Reaching a long-term solution was interrupted due to the scandal surrounding Filner that led to his resignation. Now, the odor has resurfaced with the growing sea lion population.

“These animals eat a very rich diet of bait fish such as anchovies, and they’re very large so the quantity and quality of their fecal matter introduced a new problem,” spokesperson for the City of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department Bill Harris said. “We have had accumulation of fecal matters and a low surf pattern with no rain sufficient to take the deposits away in that same time period.”

A range of community representatives including business owners and representatives of La Jolla Town Council met yesterday to discuss the problem and possible options.

“I wouldn’t say that any proposals were made, but potential options were discussed,” Harris said. “Every solution has a host of conditions that limits what we can do along the cliff face. There are layers upon layers of environmental regulations in this area.”

Some of the options discussed included relocating the sea lions, putting barges offshore, applying stronger chemicals to the cliffs on a more regular basis and getting an exemption from the Areas of Special Biological Significance standards in order to discharge into La Jolla Bay.

However, each of these options was met with further obstacles. Relocating the sea lions would merely move the problem rather than eliminate it, offshore barges would likely attract additional animals and chemical application is difficult with the many environmental regulations.

“We cannot expect the stench to be gone any time soon. It’s a complex issue given the restraints of this particular site,” Harris said. “This is a very complicated matter, but we’re working very hard to get it figured out and we will.”

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