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Vandenberg team members help earn environmental award

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Using his binoculars, Darryl York, a 30th Civil Engineer Squadron environmental flight wildlife biologist, looks out over the work his team has done to preserve an endangered species, the California Least Tern Management Team. Mr. York was a part of the Purisima Point Least Tern Management Team that earned the 2009 Coastal America Partnership Award for their ecosystem-based management approach in protecting the California Least Tern off of Vandenberg’s coast. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Angelina Drake)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Using his binoculars, Darryl York, a 30th Civil Engineer Squadron environmental flight wildlife biologist, looks out over the work his team has done to preserve an endangered species, the California Least Tern. Mr. York was a part of the Purisima Point Least Tern Management Team that earned the 2009 Coastal America Partnership Award for their ecosystem-based management approach in protecting the California Least Tern off of Vandenberg’s coast. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Angelina Drake)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – The Purisima Point Least Tern Management Team created a fence line to protect the California Least Tern, an endangered species. The team earned the 2009 Coastal America Partnership Award for their ecosystem-based management approach in protecting the California Least Tern off of Vandenberg’s coast. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Angelina Drake)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – The Purisima Point Least Tern Management Team created a fence line to protect the California Least Tern, an endangered species. The team earned the 2009 Coastal America Partnership Award for their ecosystem-based management approach in protecting the California Least Tern off of Vandenberg’s coast. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Angelina Drake)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- A Coastal American Partnership, an action-oriented group dedicated to restoring and preserving coastal eco-systems, awarded members of Vandenberg and the Purisima Point Least Tern Management Team with the 2009 Coastal America Partnership Award Nov. 6.

The 30th Civil Engineer Squadron environmental flight here was a significant contributing factor in the accomplishment and achievement of the team. Two of the team's project leads included Darryl York, a 30th CES environmental flight wildlife biologist, and Dan Robinette, Vandenberg's seabird project manager.

The Costal American Partnership Award recognizes teams throughout the United States that demonstrate outstanding efforts to restore and protect the coastal environments.

The Purisima Point Least Tern Management Team earned the recognition for their ecosystem-based management approach in protecting the California Least Tern, which is a seabird on the endangered species list, and preserving other natural resources located within Vandenberg's coastal zone.

The team has constructed an eco-friendly area designed specifically for a safer environment for the California Least Tern living off of Vandenberg's coast, near Minuteman Beach. The area is enclosed by an electric fence to ward off predators and deter human activity that might disrupt the species' breeding process.

This is the first time the 30th CES environmental flight has received the Coastal America Partnership Award.

"I am very impressed with the amount of professionalism and level of scientific knowledge that went into achieving this recognition," said Darryl York. "It is an exceptional program; there are not many places like Vandenberg where so many endangered species can be found. We will do our best to continue to promote a healthy eco-system here."

The Purisima Point Least Tern Management Team's members from outside agencies included Peter Bloom, a Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology manger, and Nic Huber, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist.