Shores group’s efforts to clean up Pottery Canyon continue with planning for next phase

Crews work in December to clean up Pottery Canyon in La Jolla.
(Courtesy of Claudia Baranowski)

With Phase 1 of efforts to clean up Pottery Canyon complete, the La Jolla Shores Association voted unanimously April 13 to form a working group to determine the next steps.

Phase 1 was a preliminary cleanup of dead trees and brush believed to pose a fire hazard in Pottery Canyon, a natural park within the boundaries of La Jolla Shores.

Claudia Baranowski, a Shores resident who has shepherded the Pottery Canyon cleanup effort since September 2020, said Phase 1 began in December after La Jollan Alina Mullen, who lives in the La Jolla Woods community above the canyon, spearheaded fundraising that netted $11,570 in donations.

With the oversight of nonprofit San Diego Canyonlands, which has a right-of-entry permit to conduct work on San Diego parklands, a crew removed downed eucalyptus trees and branches along a sewer maintenance road and adjacent areas in Pottery Canyon, Baranowski said. It also focused on brush removal as approved by the city’s Parks & Recreation Department.

The Canyonlands crew “accomplished quite a bit for working a total of six days,” Baranowski said.

Removed branches and logs were chipped onsite and used as mulch to inhibit weed growth, Baranowski said. She added that all native plants were left in place, as Pottery Canyon is a protected natural park.

Considerations as LJSA plans Phase 2 include determining the scope of work, which could feature annual cleanup on the floor of the canyon or a major tree thinning project, she said.

Any tree work must be supervised by a certified arborist, Baranowski said, “which would greatly increase the cost of the project.”

If the cost exceeds $25,000, the permitting process would require a California Environmental Quality Act analysis, which could be costly and time-consuming, she added.

The group also must decide whether to continue with Canyonlands, which can accept donations as a 501(c)(3) organization. Donations must be received before the work can begin, Baranowski said.

Less than $700 remains from the funds raised for Phase 1, she added.

The Shores Association decided to form a working group with Baranowski, LJSA members, a Canyonlands representative and city officials to meet at Pottery Canyon, assess what needs to be done and determine the next steps to present to LJSA for approval at a future meeting.

Other LJSA news

Traffic signals retimed: Anu Delouri, UC San Diego assistant director of communications and community planning, said the traffic signal timing at North Torrey Pines Road and La Jolla Village Drive was off and has been adjusted by city engineers.

Steve Hadley, representing the office of San Diego City Councilman Joe LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla, said the council member’s office is “appreciative of” the university’s efforts.

Delouri added that the adaptive traffic signals UCSD plans as part of its Long Range Development Plan’s mitigation and community improvements are ready to be installed.

The university is working with the city and the California Department of Transportation “on some coordination issues and [is] hopeful that the project will begin sometime this summer with testing of equipment,” she said.

Delouri said the project is expected to be completed by the end of the year and will include camera technology with built-in intelligence to adjust signal timing.

Board members sworn in: LJSA President Janie Emerson swore in the five board members announced at last month’s meeting: incumbents Meinrat “Andi” Andreae, Brian Earley, Ross Rudolph and Phil Wise and newcomer Chuck Merriman.

The board members will serve three-year terms.

Five board members are sworn in during the April 13 La Jolla Shores Association meeting online.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

The LJSA nominations committee then proposed a slate of officers who will serve one-year terms. The slate was approved unanimously. Emerson continues as president, Joe Dicks is first vice president, Pam Boynton is second vice president, Charlie Brown continues as secretary and Mary Coakley Munk is treasurer.

Next meeting: The La Jolla Shores Association next meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 11, online. Learn more at