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Seasonal beach restrictions begin March 1

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --

Seasonal restrictions will be in place for Surf, Wall and Minuteman beaches beginning Sunday, March 1, as part of the annual program to protect the Western Snowy Plover and its nesting habitat.

Under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Biological Opinion requires the 30th Space Wing Commander to enforce restrictions on all three beaches annually, March 1 through Sept. 30, to protect the threatened Western Snowy Plover and its nesting habitat.

"We are absolutely committed to preserving our coastal habitats at the same time we maximize beach access," said Col. Anthony Mastalir, 30th Space Wing commander. "I believe we can do both.  Let's repeat the success we had last year through continued partnership with the outstanding members of the local community."

During plover season, the general public can still find plenty of beach access available at a designated portion of Surf Beach at the end of Highway 246. Recreational beach access is also available at portions of Wall Beach and Minuteman Beach on base for the Vandenberg community.

"While violations will continue to be counted, Vandenberg is committed to keeping sections of Surf Beach open to allow our local community access to the area," said Samantha Kaisersatt, 30th Civil Engineer Squadron biological scientist. "A trail is now available to walk between Surf Beach and Ocean Park behind the restricted nesting area for all to enjoy and plans are in place to construct a permanent boardwalk in the near future."

Violation limits for Vandenberg's beaches are imposed per the terms and conditions of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Biological Opinion for Beach Management.  Entry into posted restricted beach areas counts as a violation and violators can be fined up to $5,000 in federal court. Violators of the Endangered Species Act (e.g. crushing eggs or chicks) can face fines up to $50,000 in federal court and imprisonment for up to one year.

“We protect the snowy plover by restricting specific areas of the beaches, managing predators, and restoring plover habitat to compensate for the effects of recreational beach use during the breeding season," said Kaisersatt. "Beach restrictions also include the prohibition of dogs, horses and kites.”

To ensure continued access to these beaches, we ask that the community take care of our beaches and abide by the requirements so we can maintain recreational access for everyone. Continue to read and follow the rules on the posted signage to avoid violations and beach closure.

Open hours at Surf Beach are from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Beach access at Wall and Minuteman is allowed from sunrise to sunset.