Vandenberg Closes Sections of Beach for Western Snowy Plover
Western Snowy Plover south of Villa Creek, Estero Bluffs, a few miles north of Cayucos (Photo: Mike Baird)
Source: Vandenberg Air Force Base
Vandenberg implemented seasonal partial closures of Surf, Wall and Minuteman beaches on Thursday, March 1, as part of its annual program to protect the Western Snowy Plover and its nesting habitat.
Restrictions are enforced on all three Vandenberg beaches from March 1 through Sept. 30 to protect the plover, which is listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.
"We protect the snowy plover by closing 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 Samantha Kaisersatt, 30th Civil Engineer Squadron biological scientist. "Beach closures also include a prohibition on dogs, horses and kites."
In addition, personnel are barred from entering closed sections of the beaches.
Beach restriction 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.
Entry into posted closed beach areas counts as a violation. If violations exceed 50 for Surf Beach, 10 for Wall Beach, and 10 for Minuteman Beach, that entire beach will be closed for the remainder of the nesting season.
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 off 35th Street and Minuteman Beach on north base for the Vandenberg community.
Open hours at Surf Beach are from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Beach access at Wall and Minuteman will continue to be allowed from sunrise to sunset.
To ensure continued access to these beaches, read and follow the rules on the posted signage to avoid violations and beach closure.