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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on July 1st, 2014, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 15, Issue 17 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 15, Issue 17

Surf Beach is closed because of snowy plover violations

BY CAMILLIA LANHAM

For some reason, visitors to Surf Beach outside of Lompoc can’t keep their feet or their pets out of the area designated to protect nesting snowy plovers March 1 through Sept. 30.

The snowy plover is an endangered species of shore bird whose nesting habitat is protected on beaches up and down the West Coast.

Officials at Vandenberg Air Force Base (the base is responsible for monitoring violations to the restrictions on Surf, Minuteman, and Wall beaches) said that Surf Beach was closed on June 27 and will remain closed until Sept. 30.

During the week before June 27, there were 11 violations on Surf Beach, according to the press release. Those infractions put the number of violations above the 50 that trigger a beach closure.

Robin Jackson, a spokesperson for the base, told the Sun that there have been five violations at Minuteman and two at Wall so far this nesting season. Both of those beaches only allow 10 violations each. Jackson said she were unable to find answers to all of the Sun’s questions because many employees on the base was preparing for a rocket launch, which had originally been scheduled for the early morning hours of July 1, but was postponed to the morning of July 2 due to equipment issues.

The press release from Vandenberg said the base 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 the species.

Cristina Sandoval, director of the Coal Oil Point Reserve for the Marine Science Institute at UC Santa Barbara, said this year’s snowy plover numbers won’t be available until October or November, as plovers are actively breeding right now.