By Jim Shilander
City project engineer Tom Bonigut also told the meeting that the falconry project at Poche Beach had been successful at driving the gulls from the beach, but that overall water quality at the county-run beach had not improved, as the gulls had simply moved out to the ocean, just out of reach of the five falcons, which were tethered. The birds were tethered, Bonigut said, out of concern for keeping the birds close to the beach and to avoid an avalanche of bird kills. Bonigut said that while the project was somewhat successful in moving the gulls off the beach, it likely wouldn’t be looked at as a solution to the bacterial problems at the beach.
Bonigut added that there were a number of options being looked at to try and lessen the bacteria levels at the beach, which has led to a number of posted warnings against going into the water at the beach. Possible solutions included trying to lessen the use of the nearby outlet pond or potentially getting rid of it altogether. The city is partnering with the City of Dana Point and the Prima Deshecha Landfill about ways to reduce potential runoff issues and other potential solutions to the issue.