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San Diego Mayor Filner Announces Plan To End La Jolla Cove Stench

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Visitors will no longer have to hold their noses while taking in the scenic vistas of La Jolla's beaches if the plan announced by San Diego officials is successful.

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Pelicans at La Jolla Cove.

The city has hired a company that specializes in bio-active microbial odor cleaning for cleanup of La Jolla Cove, where bird droppings have sent up foul stenches, Mayor Bob Filner said Friday.

Non-pathogenic bacteria will be used to digest bird guano and any smelly organisms it hosts, thereby eliminating the smell coming from the droppings.

"Look, this has just been a stinky mess for too long," Filner said.

Filner issued an Emergency Finding under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, declaring the area a public health hazard.

The declaration exempts the city from the normal permitting required to clean the state-designated area of "special biological significance," Filner said.

The cleanup begins Tuesday.

Biologists say the odor is a sign that environmental protections put in place over the past few decades have brought back endangered species, like cormorants and brown pelicans.

In La Jolla, the birds took over the rocks after the city prohibited people from walking there years ago for safety reasons. There has been little rain to wash away the feces.

A local restaurant owner gathered 1,500 signatures on an online petition to ask for a cleanup, calling the amassed excrement a potential public health hazard.

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