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A recently completed scientific study has concluded the main source of water pollution near the Pismo Pier is caused by hundreds of pigeons that roost on the wooden structure.

The pigeon flock at the popular pier is estimated to be at least 400 birds, with more than 200 nests under the structure.

Additionally, more than 40 percent of the bacteria samples collected from the water around the pier matched bird fecal sources, and the highest count of bird droppings was within 100 meters of the pier, according to the study.

Water samples for the research were collected from three sites extending up

Pismo Creek, 10 sites along the beach bracketing Pismo Beach pier, five sites in the ocean off

Pismo Beach and one site over the joint Pismo/Arroyo Grande/Oceano wastewater outfall to the

south of Pismo Beach.

"The data collected in this study clearly show the main source of fecal contamination on the beach

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is bird droppings near the pier," Cal Poly professor Dr. Chris Kitts wrote in a final report for the study.

Kitts, along with several of his students, conducted the study that aimed to identify the biological sources of fecal contamination in the water.

The study suggests that Pismo Beach find a way to reduce or remove the burgeoning pigeon population at the pier.

Pismo Beach was awarded a $600,000 grant in late 2007 for a study to determine the source of high levels of bacteria present in the water around the pier. The city partnered with Cal Poly to conduct the study that was completed earlier this month.

The city will hold a pubic workshop at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday to discuss the findings of the study and receive public comment on the report. The workshop will be held at City Hall, 760 Mattie Road, Pismo Beach.

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