South County Beach Goes to the Birds

South County Beach Goes to the Birds

It looks like Poche Beach, a small stretch of sand between Dana Point and San Clemente, has gone to the birds--or just their the turds--eep--actually both. That's according to a 2010 watershed study commissioned by San Clemente, which examined the area, known for its high levels of bacteria and resulting health advisories. 

Yesterday the Orange County Register reported the  $265,000 study is fingering the area's avian population, specifically a pond at the mouth of Poche Creek frequented by swarms of gulls who treat the watering hole like their own private loo. The waste is then making its way to the beautiful blue Pacific where it churns in the surf zone. I guess what they say about shit rolling downhill is true. 

The beach is well known to the environmental group Heal the Bay, which regularly features Poche Beach on its "Top 10 Beach Bummers" list. This year the beleaguered beach is sitting pretty at the number five spot. 

Local officials are now slipping into action to fix the problem and are trying to figure out how best to make the pond less attractive to the birds. (Maybe they could open up a beachfront condominium for cats and call it Kitty Korners.) Orange County Watersheds Manager Mary Ann Skorpanich will report to the San Clemente City Council tonight on efforts to secure permits to recontour the beach for better drainage, as well as discuss upgrades to a $3 million county owned runoff-treatment system near the ocean end of the pond.

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