Coastal Commission staff looking at Children’s Pool jurisdiction issue

By Dave Schwab
Staff Writer

The debate over whether the Children’s Pool rope barrier should be up year-round has taken another bounce — this time to the California Coastal Commission.

Crews were out early at Children's Pool on Dec. 15 putting a rope barrier up for the seals pupping season. Photo: Dave Schwab

Lee McEachern, district regulatory supervisor for the San Diego Coastal Commission’s District Office, confirmed Tuesday that the San Diego City Attorney’s office has requested that the state commission’s mapping unit do a boundary determination to establish whether Children’s Pool falls within its purview. He added the staff is working on the request.

It appears that the Coastal Commission’s role may play a part in the San Diego Planning Commission’s next move.

Last week after the city’s planning commission held a public hearing and discussed a judge’s ruling that they should reconsider the matter, they took no action. Following the session, a source said it was uncertain whether the commission would rehear the issue because the California Coastal Commission may have jurisdiction.

Related posts:

  1. City Council votes 6-0 to ban dogs at Children’s Pool
  2. SeaWorld staff treating injured seal from La Jolla’s Children’s Pool
  3. Appeal of year-round rope barrier at Children’s Pool is Dec. 9
  4. Judge sends seal rope matter back to Planning Commission
  5. Seal pup rescued at Children’s Pool dies

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Posted by Dave Schwab on Aug 10, 2011. Filed under La Jolla, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

3 Comments for “Coastal Commission staff looking at Children’s Pool jurisdiction issue”

  1. SD Diver

    Looks like the city is playing hot potato…

  2. Califia

    More like the City Attorney wondering "How can we win by losing this case?

  3. Ryan

    I declare that I am competent to testify about the following facts, of which I have personal knowledge:
    1. I have over 35 years of experience as a research biologist, project leader, supervisor, and educator, specializing in marine mammals and harbor seals. Currently, I am self-employed as a private consultant and Chief Scientist for Hanan & Associates, Inc. Prior to this position, I worked for the California Department of Fish and Game from 1974 to 2000. In 1984, I became the California Department of Fish and Game Associate Marine Biologist in charge of Marine Biologist, I was responsible for research and management of sport and commercial fisheries and marine mammals.
    8. I have personally visited Children’s Pool both before and after the advisory rope was removed.
    9. Since the 1920’s, the population of harbor seals on the West Coast and Southern California has steadily increased. Harbor seals are currently near their Optimum Sustainable Population level (OSP) in California and are approaching carrying capacity. They are one of the most commonly seen marine mammals along the West Coast of North America. In California, there are at least 1000 hauling sites. My most recent research has shown that the number of harbor seals in California has likely been under-estimated. Harbor seals have been documented to be present at Children’s Pool since at least 1979.
    11. Based upon my personal observation of numerous seal colonies along the West Coast, I have observed that the harbor seals located at Children’s Pool are unusually tolerant to human contact. Generally, harbor seals are skittish and have the tendency to react or flush into the water at the slightest movement or sound. In my personal observations of the harbor seals at Children’s Pool, I observed that the harbor seals there did not react to human behavior that normally would disturb harbor seals (such as laughing, clapping, stomping, climbing, snorkeling, swimming, and wading).
    12. At Children’s Pool, harbor seal pupping season is approximately from January through April, with some births possibly occurring in December and May. The pupping season likely peaks in February or March. When a pup is born on land, the birthing female usually encourages the pup into the water within an hour of its birth.
    13. It is normal for there to be some premature harbor seal pup births and pup abandonment. There are many possible reasons for these occurrences. For example, a female may reject a pup if something is biologically wrong with the pup. Based upon my experience tagging seals, during pupping season, it is my professional opinion that interaction with humans is not likely to be a significant cause of seal pup abandonment.
    14. As the population of harbor seals increases towards carrying capacity, it would be expected that the harbor seal and pup mortality rate would increase. It would also be expected that the number of pup abandonments would increase.
    15. There are many rookery sites (where harbor seal pups are born) other than Children’s Pool in Southern California, and all along the West Coast. If the harbor seals were to abandon the Children’s Pool site, they would likely move to another site and continue to survive and give birth to pups.
    16. In my professional opinion, the continued use of Children’s Pool by harbor seals is not critical for the survival of the harbor seals present at Children’s Pool or the harbor seal population as a whole.
    17. In my professional opinion, the presence of the advisory rope is not critical to the survival of the harbor seals present at Children’s Pool or the harbor seal population as a whole.
    I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing is true and correct to my own personal knowledge.

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