Vandenberg Air Force Base is closing parts of Surf, Wall and Minuteman beaches to protect the Western Snowy Plover bird and its nesting habitat.
Under the Endangered Species Act, the 30th Space Wing Commander is required to enforce restrictions on all three of the beaches annually from March 1 through September 30.
During this time, dogs, horses and kites are prohibited and beachgoers are barred from entering the closed sections of the beaches.
The general public can still find plenty of beach access available at a designated portion of Surf Beach at the end of Highway 246. Recreational beach access is also available at portions of Wall Beach and Minuteman Beach on base for the Vandenberg community.
Violators can be fined up to $5,000. People caught crushing eggs or chicks can face fines up to $50,000 and jail time.
"While violations will continue to be counted, Vandenberg is committed to keeping sections of Surf Beach open to allow our local community access to the area," said Samantha Kaisersatt, 30th Civil Engineer Squadron biological scientist. "A trail is now available to walk between Surf Beach and Ocean Park behind the restricted nesting area for all to enjoy and plans are in place to construct a permanent boardwalk in the near future."
Vandenberg urges beachgoers to read and follow the rules posted on signs at the beach to avoid any violations.