La Jollans are no longer the only ones raising a stink about the piles of bird poop at the La Jolla Cove.

Earlier this week, we noted a New York Times story about the stench and a U-T San Diego editorial that called on state and local officials to come up with a solution.

As we reported earlier this month, a quick fix is unlikely because any method to remove the droppings from the bluffs surrounding the cove must be vetted by multiple regulatory groups.

NBC 7 San Diego’s Catherine Garcia and I detailed this further in this week’s edition of San Diego Explained:

U-T San Diego columnist Matthew T. Hall, who lives in La Jolla, also weighed in on the stench this week.

He wasn’t bothered by the smell on the day he visited but sympathized with local merchants concerned about the stench’s impact on business.

Hall talked to a few cove visitors who also weren’t troubled by the smell:

Unlike those large waves, two 77-year-old swimmers were making light of the rocks. David Lamott joked about spending decades in “bird poop soup.” Bob West quipped, “I thought that was melting snow.”

Denise Hug, a 47-year-old tourist from Kansas, told me the smell couldn’t keep her or her camera away from such a beautiful setting.

“I go to San Francisco probably a couple times a year,” she said. “Down Pier 39? That smells awful. This isn’t as bad.”

Environmental activist/attorney Marco Gonzalez, who has made headlines for taking on a number of high-profile coastal issues, responded to Hall’s column on Twitter:

such a non-issue. La Jolla beaches have stunk for decades. Been to Big Rock at low tide? It’s called nature…

Andrew Harmon, vice chairman of International Bird Rescue, also called for some perspective in a letter to The New York Times:

This nuisance caused by seabirds doesn’t bode well for fine dining in the area, I’m sure. But the cormorants, gulls and other species that have prompted groans and pinched noses face declining coastal habitat, continual oil spill hazards, toxic algal blooms, plastic pollution, discarded fishing tackle and wanton cruelty by humans.

Some Voice of San Diego readers who commented on our site were less tolerant of the stench.

Commenter Frank Steely, who goes by Darmouth9537, poked fun at the bureaucracy that’s slowing a solution:

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!”

And Frances O’Neill Zimmerman shared frustration:

After a lot of blather and dither, our public officials need to recognize the seriousness of this issue and demonstrate active appreciation of the stench and its negative impact on residents, visitors and area businesses. The pols and the bureaucrats need to get busy granting waivers to whatever rules exist at any level of government that prevents cleaning off those guano-covered La Jolla rocks.

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.

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

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Disclosure: Voice of San Diego members and supporters may be mentioned or have a stake in the stories we cover. For a complete list of our contributors, click here.

Lisa Halverstadt

Lisa is a senior investigative reporter who digs into some of San Diego's biggest challenges including homelessness, city real estate debacles, the region's...

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