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Posted on February 28, 2014 | 9:47 a.m.

Vandenberg Beaches to Close for Snowy Plover Nesting Season

Source: Vandenberg Air Force Base

Vandenberg Air Force Base leadership is scheduled to temporarily close sections of Surf, Wall and Minuteman beaches on Saturday.

Beach restrictions are enforced annually on all three beaches from March 1 through Sept. 30 to protect the western snowy plover, listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, and its nesting habitat.

"We protect the snowy plover by employing beach closures, predator management and habitat restoration to offset adverse effects of recreational beach use during the breeding season," said Samantha Kaisersatt, 30th Civil Engineer Squadron biological scientist. "Beach closures include a prohibition on dogs, horses and kites."

Seasonal beach violations are limited to 50 for Surf Beach, 10 for Wall Beach and 10 for Minuteman Beach. Entry into any posted closed area counts as a violation. If the specified violation limit is reached at a particular beach, that entire beach will be closed for the remainder of the nesting season.

Violators of beach restrictions can be fined up to $5,000 in federal court. Violators of the Endangered Species Act (violations vary from entering a posted area to crushing eggs or chicks) can face fines up to $50,000 in federal court and imprisonment for up to one year.

During plover season, the general public can still find beach access available at a 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.

To ensure continued access to these beaches, observe and read the posted signage to avoid violations and beach closures.

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