Seal rope barrier going up

A federal judge Thursday granted a request by a seal protection group to install a rope barrier to keep humans away from harbor seals during their pupping season at Children’s Pool in La Jolla.

U.S. District Judge William Q. Hayes approved a request for a temporary restraining order made by La Jolla Friends of the Seals.

The group’s attorney, Bryan Pease, said the rope should go up tomorrow.

Pease urged Hayes last week to order the city of San Diego to follow a 2006 ordinance approved by the City Council, which kept the rope barrier in place until recently.

Deputy City Attorney George Schaefer told the judge that a state court ruling prohibits the city from re-installing the rope barrier.

Schaefer said city officials are not opposed to restoring the barrier and said failure to do so might put the city in violation of the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act.

In October, Superior Court Judge Yuri Hoffman ordered the city to return the Children’s Pool to its “pre-seal’’ condition. The city took ownership of the beach in 1931 with the condition that it be used as a bathing area for children in perpetuity.

Hoffman ordered the city to continue efforts to obtain permits for removing sand buildup and cleaning up the water.

But in late October, Hayes issued a temporary restraining order that prohibits the city from doing anything to remove the seals.

A March hearing is scheduled on that issue.