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Sealing Off the Beach : Volunteers Stand Guard at Rookery to Prevent Disturbances

April 15, 1996|KENNETH R. WEISS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Chevron has posted signs warning that the beach is off-limits for 750 feet on either side of the pier. The oil giant is delighted to have volunteer seal watchers guarding the beach.

"They've saved us a lot of problems," said Lee Bafalon, senior land representative in Chevron's Ventura office.

So Alberta Brown stands vigil over the 100 or so seals that can be found at any one time lounging on the rocks. From her perch on the bluff, the retired assistant high school principal can spot wayward beachcombers coming from either direction.

Like other seal watchers, she fears the impact of a development planned nearby. Carpinteria recently agreed to allow a 100-room resort hotel and 60 houses on 83 acres next to the bluffs. The developers want more and have sued the city, demanding approval for a 200-room hotel and about 200 dwellings.

"Once you get hundreds of people living in this area, the disturbances will be out of control," Brown said. "This rookery will not survive that kind of encroachment."

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