VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - Seasonal restrictions related to the endangered Western Snowy Plover will be put in place this weekend.
Vandenberg Air Force Base announced Friday that restrictions will be in place for Surf, Wall and Minuteman beaches beginning Sunday.
Under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requires restrictions on all three beaches every year from March through September. The beaches are a nesting habitat for the endangered bird.
"We are absolutely committed to preserving our coastal habitats at the same time we maximize beach access," said Col. Anthony Mastalir, 30th Space Wing commander. "I believe we can do both. Let's repeat the success we had last year through continued partnership with the outstanding members of the local community."
Portions of the beaches will still be accessible to beachgoers.
At Surf Beach, a trail has been opened for people to walk between Surf Beach and Ocean Park. This area was previously restricted. VAFB says a permanent boardwalk is in future plans.
Violators who enter restricted areas can be fined up to $5,000 in federal court. Violators of the Endangered Species Act, which includes injuring birds, chicks or damaging eggs, can face fines up to $50,000 in federal court and up to one year in prison.
“We protect the snowy plover by restricting 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 Kaisersatt. "Beach restrictions also include the prohibition of dogs, horses and kites.”
Kaisersatt asked the public to respect the restrictions and abide by the requirements so that recreational access can still be maintained.