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La Jolla Cove Faces Another Smell Problem

Editor's note: an earlier version of this story listed seals at La Jolla Cove. It is only sea lions.

Evening Edition

The decades-old problem of smelly bird poop in La Jolla Cove is being replaced by a new problem — smelly sea lion poop.

Aired 11/6/13 on KPBS News.

The decades-old problem of smelly bird poop in La Jolla Cove is being replaced by a new problem — smelly sea lion poop.

With the arrival of pupping season, the resulting odor in the area has become bothersome for tourists and San Diego residents alike.

Susan Fisher, an El Cajon resident, visits the cove twice a week and said the smell detracts from the beauty of the area.

“If I were a tourist I’d probably walk by very quickly and want to go some place else,” Fisher said.

Nearby businesses are facing challenges due to the smell. Some visitors staying at the historic La Valencia Hotel have had to seek accommodations elsewhere, and George Hauer, owner of George’s By The Cove restaurant, told 10News the smell is killing business.

A representative from City Councilwoman Sherri Lightner’s office said solving the problem is complicated because of state and federal environmental protection laws. Lightner’s council district includes La Jolla.

The city did perform a two-day cleanup of bird poop in June and a follow-up treatment in September, but there is currently no specific plan to address the seal and sea lion poop.

Until a plan is created, visitors will have to find ways to ignore the smell. Katie Lawler, visiting from New Jersey, chose to focus on the scenery.

“I think the beautiful weather and nice sunshine outweighs the fishy smell. We can ignore that, but it does smell a little interesting,” she said.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | November 7, 2013 at 3:15 p.m. ― 3 years, 4 months ago

This article really has me in disbelief. Decades old bird poo smell problem? The smell was not really there just a few years ago. And the smell is not getting worse right now, just from seal pups. Over the last 2 or 3 years, the smell around the entire area from the cave shop to the cove has become so horrid and choking that it is impossible to take a full breath of air without involuntary throat closure.

This is not some problem that has always existed, and it is completely destroying the whole area. I will never, ever eat anywhere around there. It is disgusting. It would be impossible to enjoy a meal with that awful disgusting smell. It smells like a chicken farm.

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Avatar for user 'llk'

llk | November 7, 2013 at 7:26 p.m. ― 3 years, 4 months ago

I would appreciate it if KPBS did not use foul language in their reporting. The reporter, Dwyane Brown, has used the P-word numerous times in this story. I am a father and my family members often read this website and so I kindly ask that this story be revised to use the word "droppings" or "fecal matter" instead. The language currently used is inappropriate, and other family leaders such as JeanMarc (a great man, a true conservative) have stated that they agree. Thank you.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | November 8, 2013 at 10 a.m. ― 3 years, 4 months ago

Oh Ilk, you are back!

I am a great family leader, yes, but I allow my children to say p**p.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | November 8, 2013 at 12:36 p.m. ― 3 years, 4 months ago

"Fecal matter" sounds creepier than poop.

You want your kids to say, "I need to expel fecal matter" instead of "I need to poop"!?

Anyway, smells exist.

Go to a big city and you smell garbage.

Go to a harbor and you smell "fishyness"

Go to a stable and smell horse poop.

I forgot that in La Jolla you are only supposed to smell old lady Chanel parfoom and roses.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | November 8, 2013 at 3:55 p.m. ― 3 years, 4 months ago

I do not mind a little bit of poop and fish smell, but just go down that little road that goes past the cave shop. As soon as you get to the cave shop area, the smell is choking, it is hard to breathe it smells so awful. It is really bad.

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Avatar for user 'cj8317'

cj8317 | November 8, 2013 at 8:49 p.m. ― 3 years, 4 months ago

The bird problem around the cave shop began when the city fenced off that area from people walking around it, mainly to suppress people from jumping off the cliffs in that area, with jumping spots with names as, "The Clam", "The Point", "Pendulum", and then up and behind the cave shop, "Dead Mans". We used to have water balloon fights with the boats during the annual rough water swim. Sorry I'm rambling, had a lot of fun there.
The point is there were no birds there during the day, and they were kept away by people presence. They returned at night, yet were gone in the morning, and there was not the massive amounts of droppings that are there now. Put it back the way it was, bird problem solved.
As for the seals, tear down the Childrens Cove wall, sea reclaims the beach, seals go away. Problem solved. Don't cry about losing the beach, we lost it to the seal zealots years ago.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | November 8, 2013 at 11 p.m. ― 3 years, 4 months ago

cj8317: the "seal zealots"


More like the children's pool zealots.

Harassment, death threats, illegal activity, and a conviction (Kent Trego).

All because some wealthy La Jolla folk want to re-live their long bygone memories of swimming at "children's pool" back in the 60s.

And then some loony claim that a woman "owned" the beach and wrote a letter saying children should swim there many decades ago as their entire legal argument.

There are zealots indeed but they aren't those trying to protect the seals, they are the "children's pool" radicals.

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