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Beach violations rise, closure imminent

Western Snowy Plover violations on Vandenberg beaches. Current as of July 17, 2012. (U.S. Air Force graphic/Jan Kays)

Western Snowy Plover violations on Vandenberg beaches. Current as of July 17, 2012. (U.S. Air Force graphic/Jan Kays)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Base officials here are just a few violations away from being forced to close two of Vandenberg's beaches this week as the number of violations in Western Snowy Plover habitats approach the maximum allowed in the season.

With over two months of summer remaining in this Western Snowy Plover nesting season, Vandenberg's Surf Beach has already had 47 out of 50 allowed violations. Three more violations will force the closure of Surf Beach. Wall Beach has nine out of ten allowed violations; one more violation will result in closure there.

"When violation limits exceed the allowable amount, that beach will be closed until Sept. 30," said Samantha Kaisersatt, 30th Civil Engineer Squadron biological scientist. "Failure to comply with beach restrictions may result in fines and penalties that can reach up to $50,000 and up to one year in jail."

According to base conservation law enforcement, violations include disturbing the plover's nest and also the wet sand around the dunes.

"Entry into closed beach areas, including walking below the high tide on the wet sand, count as a violation," Kaisersatt said. "Most violations are documented by footprint evidence."

Team V members can keep the beaches open by minding the posted beach rules and reporting violators.

"People must read and follow the rules posted at the entrance of each beach area to ensure continued recreational access," Kaisersatt said.

Call Vandenberg Conservation Law Enforcement at 606-6804 to report violations.