La Jolla Cove Stink Goes National

La Jolla Cove Stink Goes National

Photo by Sam Hodgson

Birds fly in and around La Jolla Cove.

 

The acrid stench at La Jolla Cove is making its way across the country.

The New York Times featured a story about the infamous stink on its home page on Saturday, about two weeks after Voice of San Diego wrote about the stench and why state regulations have complicated efforts to clean it up.

The smell is a result of built-up bird poop that isn’t getting much oxygen exposure, compounded by a lack of recent rain. Any solutions to the problem will require vetting from multiple layers of regulators because the cove is one of 34 state-protected Areas of Biological Significance.

Ian Lovett noted the red tape and area business owners’ concerns about the stench in his weekend story for the Times.

Here’s what one restaurateur told him:

“I’ve lived here my whole life, and the smell from the birds has never, ever been as bad as it is now,” said Megan Heine, the owner of Brockton Villa Restaurant, which overlooks the cove from a historic building that has been on the cliffs for more than 100 years. She said guests asked about the stench so frequently that her wait staff had become adept at explaining its cause.

“If nothing is done and the smell becomes unbearable, I’m fearful of what that will really do to the business and the appeal of being in La Jolla,” she said.

The story, which included several photos taken by VOSD contributor Sam Hodgson, was among the New York Times website’s most read and emailed over the weekend. Will the national coverage help San Diego officials cut through the red tape?

That’s not yet clear — but the story did get the attention of a couple local media outlets.

Our media partner NBC 7 San Diego cited our story about the stink in a Sunday night report.

Reporter Chris Chan talked to cove visitors and checked in with a local conservation group to get their take on the matter.

U-T San Diego’s editorial board weighed in late Monday, calling on state and local officials to come up with a solution.

The editorial also panned state regulations, including the California Coastal Act, that have complicated efforts to clean up the droppings:

For this to be interpreted as the Coastal Poop Protection Act is preposterous. The buildup of feces isn’t some saintly natural process that must be allowed to run its course lest there be some terrible consequence down the line. It happened because of a combination of circumstance, climate and official decisions. It’s not part of Mother Nature’s grand scheme for La Jolla Cove or the planet.

What’s your take on the stink in La Jolla? Should La Jollans be forced to wait for nature to wash away the problem? What do you think is the best solution to deal with the stinky problem?

Lisa Halverstadt is a reporter at Voice of San Diego. Know of something she should check out? You can contact her directly at lisa.halverstadt@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0528.

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Lisa Halverstadt

Lisa Halverstadt

Lisa Halverstadt is a reporter at Voice of San Diego. Know of something she should check out? You can contact her directly at lisa@vosd.org or 619.325.0528.

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21 comments
John Hardman
John Hardman subscribermember

As usual, the UT's editorial is biased and wrong. Yes, it is Mother Nature's plan for the cliffs. The sea birds and mammals have used these cliffs for millions of years and will probably do so long after we humans are gone. What would the UT folks have us do, build a plastic bubble over the village and not allow Nature to intrude? You pay extra to live on the coast, close to Nature. Love it or leave it. I am more concerned about the millions of gallons of partially treated sewage we pipe into the ocean every day than the seasonal accumulation of some bird poop that will be resolved with the winter rains.

JohnTDI
JohnTDI

As usual, the UT's editorial is biased and wrong. Yes, it is Mother Nature's plan for the cliffs. The sea birds and mammals have used these cliffs for millions of years and will probably do so long after we humans are gone. What would the UT folks have us do, build a plastic bubble over the village and not allow Nature to intrude? You pay extra to live on the coast, close to Nature. Love it or leave it. I am more concerned about the millions of gallons of partially treated sewage we pipe into the ocean every day than the seasonal accumulation of some bird poop that will be resolved with the winter rains.

Bobby Tannin
Bobby Tannin subscriber

If all that's required to wash away the poop and smell is a rainstorm why can't they get a little fire boat out there and spray the rocks clean?

Otto
Otto

If all that's required to wash away the poop and smell is a rainstorm why can't they get a little fire boat out there and spray the rocks clean?

Jim Jones
Jim Jones subscriber

Not only do we need to allow the pooposcape to increase naturally, we need to fill back in mission bay and restore it to its natural state as a pristine swamp. Humans are destroying the planet, and only by restoring the swamps and poop fields can we hope to save it. It may already be too late!

Jim Jones
Jim Jones

Not only do we need to allow the pooposcape to increase naturally, we need to fill back in mission bay and restore it to its natural state as a pristine swamp. Humans are destroying the planet, and only by restoring the swamps and poop fields can we hope to save it. It may already be too late!

Mark Allen
Mark Allen subscriber

Another example of why California is the worst run state in the Union.

mdainsd
mdainsd

Another example of why California is the worst run state in the Union.

Matt Sanseverino
Matt Sanseverino subscriber

We also need to rope off the picnic area so the birds are not disturbed while pooping on the tables. We can set up an information booth to educate unsuspecting tourists and file all sorts of ridiculous lawsuits to keep the courts and politicians focused on what is important .

sansev
sansev

We also need to rope off the picnic area so the birds are not disturbed while pooping on the tables. We can set up an information booth to educate unsuspecting tourists and file all sorts of ridiculous lawsuits to keep the courts and politicians focused on what is important .

Chris Sole
Chris Sole subscriber

#Rich White People Problems

solei
solei

#Rich White People Problems

Mark Giffin
Mark Giffin subscribermember

This is a problem of layers of bureaucracies and regulations making it all but impossible to solve the simplest of problems.

mgland
mgland

This is a problem of layers of bureaucracies and regulations making it all but impossible to solve the simplest of problems.

Frances O'Neill Zimmerman
Frances O'Neill Zimmerman

I'd like to see local firefighters (who frequently exercise at the La Jolla Cove anyway) swing by the area with water and fire hoses until seasonal rains take up the slack. Water not chemicals, action not studies.

Lee Johns
Lee Johns subscriber

Now it's the most disgusting beach area in San Diego. The smell and poop dust is so incredibly gross. But this is what they get for banning people from the cliffs.

hardtruth00
hardtruth00

Now it's the most disgusting beach area in San Diego. The smell and poop dust is so incredibly gross. But this is what they get for banning people from the cliffs.

Jim Jones
Jim Jones subscriber

We need a lawyer to sue on behalf of the poop!

Jim Jones
Jim Jones

We need a lawyer to sue on behalf of the poop!

Frank Steely
Frank Steely subscriber

Protect the poop! I say we put up a rope as a barrier so no one can yell at it or harass it... I'm starting a group called "Bird Poop Protection and Rescue League." Only requirement to become a lifelong member is to be able to sit and monitor the poop (and endure the stench) for more than 6 hours. Who's with me!? "Protect the Poop! Protect the Poop!"

Dartmouth9537
Dartmouth9537

Protect the poop! I say we put up a rope as a barrier so no one can yell at it or harass it... I'm starting a group called "Bird Poop Protection and Rescue League." Only requirement to become a lifelong member is to be able to sit and monitor the poop (and endure the stench) for more than 6 hours. Who's with me!? "Protect the Poop! Protect the Poop!"