Lompoc-area beachgoers who were planning to return to Surf Beach next month will have to wait longer than anticipated.

Just three weeks after announcing that Surf Beach would be temporarily closed through August, Vandenberg Air Force Base officials said Friday that the beach will now remain shut off to visitors through Sept. 30. The closure is in response to a continued rise in violations of the restrictions put in place to protect the Western snowy plover, according to VAFB officials.

The initial temporary closure through August was announced July 28. Base officials said at the time that 44 plover violations had been recorded at Surf Beach, which has an annual limit of 50 before triggering the shutdown. Base leaders said in July that the hope was violations would stop with the closure and that the beach would be reopened by Labor Day Weekend, which begins Sept. 1.

On Friday, though, VAFB released a statement that said “multiple violations at Surf Beach have pushed it beyond the mandated limit of 50 violations.”

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The Sept. 30 date for the reopening coincides with the end of the nesting season for the Western snowy plover, which is listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

Wall and Minuteman beaches, which are only accessible through VAFB, are limited to 10 violations each. Those beaches remain open to people with base access.

Willis Jacobson covers the city of Lompoc for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @WJacobsonLR.

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