Vandenberg Air Force Base officials have closed Surf Beach for the remainder of the Western Snowy Plover nesting season and will re-open on October 1, 2018.
The announcement came Friday, Aug. 10 after officials say the “pre-determined threshold of beach violations” at Surf Beach was met.
Every beach has a threshold of violations it can incur before officials are forced to close the beach in an effort to protect the Snowy Plover, which is listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.
Base officials say recreational access is still available at parts of Wall Beach off 35th Street and Minuteman Beach on North base for the Vandenberg community.
No beach access is available at Ocean Beach County Park but the park itself remains open.
Vandenberg Air Force Base reminds residents and visitors to observe and read posted signage to avoid violations and future beach closures.
Some sections of Surf, Wall and Minuteman beaches at Vandenberg Air Force Base have closed to the public in order to protect the Western Snowy Plover and its nesting habitat.
Vandenberg officials say restrictions are enforced at all three beaches from March 1 through Sept. 30, 2018. The plover returns to the Central Coast every year during the breeding season and is listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.
During the plover season, the visitors can still find plenty of beach access available at a designated portion of Surf Beach at the end of Highway 246. Recreational beach access for Wall Beach can be found off 35th Street, and for Minuteman Beach, on the north base for the Vandenberg community.
During the closures, visitors and personnel are barred from entering the closed sections of the beaches. Violators can be fined up to $5,000 in federal court. Violators of the Endangered Species Act, such as crushing eggs or chicks, can face fines up to $50,000 in federal court and imprisonment for up to one year.
The possibility of closing the entire beach to the public exists. If violations exceed 50 for Surf Beach, 10 for Wall Beach, and 10 for Minuteman Beach, the entire beach will be closed for the remainder of the nesting season.
Vandenberg officials recommend the public read and follow the rules on the posted signage to avoid violations and beach closure.