Surf Beach four violations away from temporarily closing

Posted at 6:47 PM, Aug 07, 2018

Surf Beach, near Vandenberg Air Force Base, may be temporarily shut down soon.

It’s all in an effort to protect the endangered snowy plover bird, which is in nesting season right now.

"They nest all throughout the beaches here, even in the areas that are open for recreational access. We get nests that are laid within the open areas and put symbolic signs around them to keep people from trampling them," said Samantha Kaisersatt, a biologist at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Kaisersatt says there’s a limit of 50 violations per season before they’d have to close the beach until October, which is the end of nesting season.

So far, they’ve recorded 46 violations.

"We were actually going to walk down there to check whatever shells were on the beach and we noticed people were crossing past the area. It was a little frustrating, but I get it at the same time. This is your beach, you want to enjoy it to the full capacity," said Jasmin Mera, a Lompoc resident who frequents the beach.

Beachgoers are not allowed to bring dogs or have campfires during nesting season, but that does not count as a violation.

Entering the ‘off limits’ areas of the beach is a federal crime that could land someone a $5,000 fine. That amount increases to $50,000 if eggs are crushed.

You don’t have to be seen walking past the fence line for it to count as a violation. Officials say if they see footprints in the area, that also counts as a violation.