Is Smelly Poop a Pollutant? Not As Far As the Gummint in Southern California Is Concerned

La Jolla (pronounced La Hoya, which means “the jewel” in Spanish), is by all accounts a beautiful and pricy place on the California Riviera, just North of San Diego, and its shore is predictably inhabited by all sorts classy folk so that if your housing budget is below the seven-figure watermark, you may as well forget about living there. We have heard it said that La Jolla is the sort of place where deserving U.S. Navy Admirals go after they die. (Good Marines go to Oceanside). You get the idea.

But there is a snake in paradise. The La Jolla Cove, a beatiful cove on the rocky shore has been favored by roosting seabirds and pupping — not to be confused with pooping — seals that, in the delicate phrasing of the Los Angeles Times, “leave behind what animals leave behind,” namely, goobs of poop which, as is the order of the biologocal universe, decays and stinks to high heaven. See A Solution to La Jolla’s Smell Problem Proves Elusive, L.A. Times, January 5, 2013,  — click here.

In a rational society, the poop would be cleaned up promptly as a matter of sanitary necessity. Right? Wrong. This is California, man, where anything at all is tolerated, as long as finds favor in the eyes of wacko environmentalists. And what makes this one wacko?  you ask. Whereas the simple solution to this problem would be to hook up some high-pressure hoses and wash down the poop-infested rocks at the La Jolla Cove, that cannot be done. Why? Because The Cove, being on the beach, is within the jurisdiction of a clutch of governmental entities, including the California Coastal Commission, a regulatory body that was once decribed as given to confusing the regulatory  state police power with the power of a police state, that is run by the Marx Brothers: Karl and Groucho.

What justifies our acerbic assessment is that any would-be bird poop cleaner-uppers face the fact that apart from the aforementioned Coastal Commission, the Cove falls under the jurisdiction of the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board that would have to issue a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination  System permit. Got that? And, since wildlife is involved, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also have authority. Then there is the San Diego City Council that “would need to endorse a specific wash-down proposal,” but that, according to [city] staff, would mean submitting the issue to an application process that could take at least two years . . .” All that over some bird poop.

So the city, evidently in an act of desperation, has been considerang arming of its park rangers with brooms, so they could scrub the rocks clean, and do so in such an ingenious manner as to ensure that no run-off reaches the ocean. But this is California, man, so you don’t just get to do a sensible thing like that. “Talks are planned with regional, state and federal agency staff members to see if such a limited approach could be taken without a full-tilt application process.” No, we are not making it up.

And so it goes in the Golden State.


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