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Vandenberg beaches reopen after temporary closure

Release Number: 010513

Surf Beach here is now open to beachgoers after a spike in beach access violations during the Western Snowy Plover breeding season prompted base leadership to order a temporary closure.

The closure that began Apr. 10, was intended to refocus attention on the rules, emphasize that they are not optional, and that violations carry real consequences for not only violators, but also impacts those who follow the rules.

"Team Vandenberg members have the privilege of enjoying 42 miles of pristine California coastline on our own installation," said Col. Nina Armagno, 30th Space Wing commander. "It is our duty as both military and local community members to be good stewards of the environment by maintaining a clean and safe habitat for the Western Snowy Plover to nest and continue to thrive on Vandenberg beaches. Surf Beach has 37 of violations so far, which is an unacceptable amount so early in the season. Let's work together to preserve the future for this threatened shorebird."

Under an agreement with the Air Force and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, only limited segments of beaches are open from Mar. 1 through Sept. 30 so the small shorebird can nest. Once a threshold is reached, the beach must close for the remainder of nesting season.

Those limits are 50 for Surf Beach, which has one-half mile open to the public for the nesting season, and 10 each for Wall and Minuteman beaches, limited sections of which are accessible only to people with access to the base.

Violators of beach restrictions 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. Some beach rules include:
-No littering (including fishing bait and fish remains). Please use trash containers located at beach entry points.
-No pets off-leash
-No camping
-No beach fires
-No fireworks
-No kite flying
-No feeding wildlife
-No horses or ATV's (except for authorized enforcement personnel)

To report violators on any of Vandenberg's beaches, call the conservation office at 606-6804, or the law enforcement desk at 606-3911. For more information about the Western Snowy Plover, call The 30th Civil Engineer Squadron Natural Resources Office at 605-0392

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