More action on Pismo pollution


Almost a week after the Pismo Beach City Council banned feeding birds near the pier, the San Luis Obispo County Health Department held a meeting concerning ocean water monitoring in the area.

Making minor strides together to help unclog the mess, county officials and local surfers agreed to install 20 permanent health advisory signs at every county bacteria-testing site.

But the big topic for discussion was why the area 40 feet south of the Pismo Pier has so many problems. It's the only one of the 20 county-tested spots that didn't receive an A from Heal the Bay's Annual California Beach Report. Some speculate the pier's pollution problem is because of a damaged underwater sewer line.

County director of environmental health Curtis Batson again blamed the birds' droppings as the source of the pollution near the pier.

Pismo Beach fire captain and lifeguard program leader Rick Howard agrees with Batson's birdie bowel movement theory.

"Common sense tells me high bacteria levels could be caused from the pigeons," he said. "Our weather patterns blow water at a south angle, pushing any debris in that direction."

Surfrider members said the county should stop pointing fingers at the pigeons.

"We're tired of hearing that. We want to hear an open mind," said Jennifer Jozwiak, vice chairman of the San Luis Bay Chapter of Surfrider Foundation.

She said the evidence of fecal coliform in tests shows the birds aren't the problem.

"Batson has said, 'Fecal coliform comes from the guts of mammals'," Jozwiak said. "But birds aren't mammals. So that rules out that. I'm wondering how they can put the blame on pigeons when they're not even testing for this."

Though the county and Surfrider have agreed to post new permanent health advisories, Jozwiak doesn't want any delays. She wants the notices posted immediately.

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