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Plover season begins

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  • By 010507
Vandenberg officials are preparing Minuteman, Surf and Wall beaches for the upcoming plover season. The nesting season will begin March 1 for the tiny shorebird listed as threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

The western snowy plover makes its nests on Vandenberg beaches from March 1 through Sept. 30 each year. In order to aid in the recovery of the species, portions of Vandenberg's beaches are closed and access is restricted during the bird's nesting season. 

The beaches affected are Minuteman Beach on the far north end of the base, Wall Beach off of 35th Street and Surf Beach at the end of Highway 246. 

Beach open hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Beach and dune areas beyond fences marking inaccessible areas are off limits. Every entry into closed areas counts as a violation of beach restrictions. If a specified violation limit is reached at a particular beach, that beach will be closed entirely for the remainder of the nesting season. 

Beach access and violation limits are as follows: 


Minuteman Beach - Open area is the northernmost one-half mile of the beach. Violation limit - 10 

Surf Beach - Open area is one-half mile long adjacent to Surf Station, accessible directly from the Amtrak station or via a one-half mile trail through the back dunes from Ocean Park. Violation limit - 50 

Wall Beach - Open area is the northernmost one quarter mile of the beach. Violation limit - 10 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service gives Vandenberg a target population of 400 adult breeding birds maintained over 10 years in order to consider delisting this species. 

The beginning 2006 adult breeding population was more than 250.
More than 650 snowy plover chicks are known to have hatched on Vandenberg beaches during the 2006 season.


 No pets
 No beach fires
 No littering
 No motorized vehicles or bicycles
 No wind-surfing or parasailing
 No kite-flying
 No camping
 No fireworks
 No feeding wildlife
 No entering closed beach areas