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City seeking emergency closure of Point La Jolla area to separate sea lions, public

Sea Lion Released
Posted at 4:18 PM, Aug 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-03 19:18:00-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — City officials are working to temporarily close a portion of a La Jolla beach to protect a sea lion rookery — and the public — amid pupping season.

The City of San Diego announced in a release that staff are submitting an application for a temporary emergency closure at a portion of Point La Jolla at Ellen Scripps Browning Park. The closure will close the tip of Point La Jolla beyond the seawall starting at Boomer Beach, ending at the access stairway leading down to the bluff.

City officials said the closure is needed to protect the sea lions from the public and vice versa. Sea lions can become aggressive when they feel threatened and can seriously injure visitors who come too close. During pupping season, mother sea lions are focused on raising and protecting their young.

Some beach visitors have recently been reported disregarding signage that warns visitors about getting too close, according to the city.

"We have called for responsible tourism, met with stakeholders, installed new signage, and yet crowds continue to seek up-close encounters with the sea lions. The spectacle of the past few months does not reflect who we are as a city and has distracted the public from enjoyment of San Diego's world-class natural resources," said Councilmember Joe LaCava, who represents Council District 1. "The temporary closure, as called for by the California Coastal Commission, will curtail access to Point La Jolla while preserving the unique viewing of sea lions. Further, it provides the City additional time to continue conversations with stakeholders on effective methods to manage our coastline for all to safely enjoy."

The permit could go into effect as soon as this week and last through Sept. 15, the end of pupping season.

“It is imperative that we are taking steps to minimize potential injuries to both the public and the sea lions during pupping season as interactions between the two continue to increase,” said Andy Field, Director of the City of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department. “It is of utmost importance that we are protecting adults and children while respecting the sea lions as they care for their young.”

The city will also begin a public process to figure out a long-term solution about a potential seasonal closure of Point La Jolla for pupping season.