Community leaders address Cove’s fowl stench
by Mariko Lamb
Published - 10/25/12 - 11:06 AM | 5940 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A wave peels off against the cormorant and pelican-covered cliffs of La Jolla Cove. 	DON BALCH | Village News
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La Jolla Cove businesses are doing more than just anxiously awaiting a solution for the rank odor emanating from the Cove, which many say has affected the livelihood of businesses and the quality of life. Area merchants have taken action through the La Jolla Village Merchants Association (LJVMA) by circulating a petition urging District 1 City Councilwoman Sherri Lightner to expedite a solution to the smell from the cormorant colony that is overtaking the Village.

Lightner and representatives from the Regional Water Quality Control Board, California Coastal Commission, city park and recreation and stormwater departments held a meeting on Oct. 7 to discuss options for addressing the issue.

Any option to tackle the issue would require permits and review by the Coastal Commission and Regional Water Quality Control Board, said Jennifer Davies, spokeswoman for Lightner’s office.

“All agencies made clear that there are no overnight solutions,” she said. “In particular, there is no legal means to get a permit to power wash the cliffs, as has been suggested by many citizens. This would damage the cliffs and would violate the ban on discharging any substance into the ocean beneath these cliffs, which is a protected area of special biological significance.”

Because no products currently on the market have been used to eradicate odors on a similar coastal bluff setting on the West Coast, seeking permits to use such a product requires a number of tests to determine potential detriment of the runoff into the ocean or other harmful environmental consequences.

“We have reached out to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography to see if they have any scientists who would be willing to perform an independent test of the available products,” Davies said. “Once a successful test has been completed, we can move forward with seeking permits to use the product at the Cove.”

Lightner’s office is also seeking out an agency or private company that can test the Cove’s air quality to determine whether the bird waste is causing any harmful affects in the area.

Meanwhile, the LJVMA is asking La Jollans to consider signing an electronic petition urging the councilwoman’s help in cleaning up the bird excrement at the Cove. The association has also sent letters to mayoral candidates Carl DeMaio and Bob Filner requesting support.
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