Thursday, July 5, 2012
Guest: Ed Harris, spokesman, San Diego Lifeguards union
San Diego's lifeguards, who have remained neutral in the territorial battle between people and seals at the La Jolla Children's Pool, have come up with an idea they say will protect both animals and humans without blocking anyone's access to the beach.
Lifeguard Sgt. Ed Harris, a spokesman for the lifeguards' union, told KPBS the plan involves a moveable barrier made of boulders.
He said seals enjoy the beach more in the winter, but don’t like it as much in the summer. The reverse, of course, is true for humans.
Because of this, Harris said the seals only need a small portion of the beach in the summer. The lifeguards' idea is to use boulders to section off 25 percent of the beach for the seals in the summer months. In the winter, the boulders can be removed to give seals full access to the beach.
A wall of boulders, he hopes, will send a stronger message to people on the beach to leave the seals alone. He said the current barrier, a rope, can too easily be crossed.
Harris said lifeguards would use existing city equipment to move the boulders, so costs would be minimal. He added that lifeguards can also use equipment to clean the sand of seal feces - a task he considers necessary but said is not being done now.
Harris said the lifeguards are tired of seeing the confrontations between seal activists and beachgoers. He said he has seen seal activists yell at tourists and children.
“No one has a right to make kids cry,” he said.
Harris said he also sees "naïve people" trying to pet the seals.
The lifeguards brought their proposal to La Jolla Community Planning Board Thursday. The California Coastal Commission will hear the plan for a rope to protect the seals next week, but Harris said he hopes the lifeguards' plan will provide a better alternative for the commission to consider.