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Children’s Pool report released

Ruling pending on barrier separating seals from humans

A draft environmental impact report for the proposed dredging of La Jolla’s Children’s Pool has been released for public comment.

Meanwhile, the fate of a rope barrier separating marine mammals from humans at the pool - and the possible dispersement of the animals - hangs in the balance awaiting a judicial decision.

On April 3, a federal judge took under submission the lifting of a temporary restraining order halting a state court order to dredge the pool and disperse the seals. A written decision is expected soon.

“It’s a complicated issue,” said Bryan Pease, an attorney representing the Animal Protection and Rescue League who has been arguing in favor of keeping the pool’s rope barrier up until the end of May. “The judge is deciding whether the order can stay in effect, preventing the seals from being disbursed.”

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Pease said if the temporary restraining order is lifted, the state court could order the seals dispersed. But that wouldn’t happen right away.

“If this case is dismissed in federal court,” he said, “there would be another step in state court to cause the seals to be disbursed.”

Pease said he expects the judge’s written decision on the temporary restraining order to be issue within “a few days or a couple of weeks.”

For years, there has been a court battle over the presence of harbor seals at the Pool, which was created in 1931 for children by La Jolla benefactress Ellen Browning Scripps. Waste buildup from seals has since fouled the pool.

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A 2005 court order determined that the continued presence of harbor seals violates Children’s Pool’s trust status, and that sand must be removed from it to return it to its 1941 configuration when there was significantly more water and less beach.

The environmental report evaluates the potential impacts from the proposed project to excavate and transfer 3,000 cubic yards of sand.

The document is available at the downstairs reference desk of the La Jolla Riford Center & Jacobs Annex Library at 7555 Draper Ave.

Comments on the report must be received by May 7 and can be e-mailed to

DSDEAS@sandiego.gov

Written comments can be sent to: Allison Sherwood, environmental planner, City of San Diego Development Services Center, 1222 First Ave., MS 501, San Diego, CA 92101.