After contacting District 6 councilmember Lori Zapf’s office to determine if the city was aware of a gopher infestation in Clairemont, I was soon contacted by Steve Palle of San Diego’s Parks and Recreation Department.
Palle assured me that the city is aware of problems with gophers and squirrels in parks and several parts of the city. Residents have blamed the city for allowing the nuisance to migrate from park property onto their lawns. Palle acknowledged that there are now problems with gophers and squirrels in parts of the city where they had been nonexistent.
Overnight, mounds have appeared in large numbers on some properties. Some gophers are so bold as to do their digging during daylight hours. Once commenting to a man on Boxwood Drive that his front lawn looked spared from gophers, he said, “Yes, but I’ve killed 14 of them in the backyard.”
Palle says that while the city is limited in how it treats gopher populations, residents are free to handle gophers in any number of ways. Known do-it-yourself methods reported recently in the Diane Drive neighborhood include drowning, air-horn blasts, tailpipe asphyxiation, and a bleach/ammonia mix (which permanently kills the lawn), none of which have been found effective.
In a recent “Best Buys” article about gopher control, Eve Kelly wrote about getting professional help that unfortunately for many is unaffordable. As a result, one neighbor’s current safe harbor is the next potential bed-and-breakfast for the ever-breeding population just over the fence. Doing nothing will become more and more of a problem.
Palle informed me that gopher and squirrel extermination contracts are being finalized. Contractors will lay non-lethal traps in problem residential areas and city parks. The intention is to relocate trapped critters. San Diego residents feeling overwhelmed by these unwanted guests are encouraged to request the assistance of city Parks and Recreation.