Any plans for Labor Day at Vandenberg’s Surf Beach must go on standby as the Air Force has closed the beach until September 30. The dunes hold the nests and young of the western snowy plover, a small shorebird whose dwindling numbers have kept it on the threatened-species list since 1973. Officials had hoped to open the beach in time for Labor Day, September 1, but the number of incursions has crossed the maximum limit of 50 since the beach was first closed on July 28.
The Vandenberg community can still use Wall and Minuteman beaches, which also harbor plover nesting sites. The public and their dogs are asked to stay out of the plover cordon. Ocean Beach Park is open, though beach access has been closed.