Two Vandenberg beaches are a few strikes away from closure for the rest of the summer as the number of violations in these snowy plover restoration zones nears the allowed maximum.
In a nesting season that runs from March 1 through September 30, Vandenberg’s Surf Beach is already at 47 out of the permitted 50 violations and neighboring Wall Beach is at 9 out of 10 violations.
Base law enforcement officials generally detect infractions that include disturbing nesting areas and wet sand near the dunes by footprint evidence. The base is required to enforce federal laws but says it is in Vandenberg’s interest is to keep the beaches open for the public to enjoy. To do so, people must follow the rules posted at the entrances of the beaches.
“Failure to comply with beach restrictions may result in fines and penalties that can reach up to $50,000 and up to one year in jail,” said Samantha Kaisersatt, 30th Civil Engineer Squadron biological scientist.
The six-inch light brown shore bird was placed on the federal endangered species list in 1993. Last year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated Vandenberg Air Force Base as part of the 1,200 miles of tri-county coastline that are designated zones for ongoing restoration efforts.