The closest public beach for Lompoc Valley residents has closed after visitors hit the limit for trespassing violations allowed during a federally protected shorebird’s nesting season, Vandenberg Air Force Base officials said Friday.
Surf Beach will reopen Oct. 1, the end of the western snowy plover’s seven-month nesting season.
An agreement between Vandenberg and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service crafted more than a decade ago allows people access while protecting the plover on the base beaches.
For Surf Beach, a limit of 50 violations has been allowed before Vandenberg must close access.
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Limited sections of Wall Beach and Minuteman Beach are open to people with regular access to Vandenberg, but all other beaches are closed.
While Ocean Beach — accessed under the train trestle — also remains closed, the nearby Ocean Beach County Park, which does not reach the ocean, still is open.
Snowy plovers make their nest in small imprints in the sand, making them vulnerable to predators.
Federal officials have said Vandenberg’s beaches are critical to the recovery of the snowy plover population