Surf Beach closed at Vandenberg AFB through September
Santa Barbara County's Surf Beach will be closed from June 27 to Sept. 30 because the maximum number of violations tolerated to protect the nests of the federally-listed Snowy Plover was exceeded.
Beach restrictions are enforced yearly on Wall, Minuteman and Surf beaches during the snowy plover's nesting season. If a pre-determined number of violations are detected, the beaches are closed for the remainder of the nesting season.
This week there were 11 violations reported, putting the number at Surf Beach more than 50, the pre-determined limit.
As a federal agency, Vandenberg is required by the Federal Endangered Species Act not only to stop the decline of federally listed species, but also to actively aid in the recovery of those species.
"We know how important beach access is to the base and the community," said Col. Keith Balts, 30th Space Wing commander in a statement released to the media. "But as the land manager here, I have a responsibility to uphold our obligations under the Endangered Species Act. Closing Surf Beach is necessary to ensure the proliferation of this threatened species during its most vulnerable moments."