100121 Surf Beach Reopens

Vandenberg Space Force Base has fully reopened Surf Beach to the public.

All sections of Surf, Wall and Minuteman beaches were fully reopened to the public Sept. 23, four days ahead of the scheduled end of annually enforced restrictions put in place to protect the Western snowy plover, according to Vandenberg Space Force Base

Boundary fences and signs at Lompoc's most accessible Surf Beach were removed in response to the confirmed fledging of plover chicks on Sept. 16 per biological opinion, officials said.

Under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's biological opinion requires the 30th Space Wing commander to enforce restrictions on all three beaches annually — from March 1 through Sept. 30 — to protect the threatened plover species.

Since all plover chicks had fledged by Sept. 16, according to VSFB officials, 30th Space Wing Cmdr. Col. Robert A. Long directed all beaches be reopened.

Certain restrictions still apply during the fall and winter seasons that include:

  • No littering, including fishing bait and fish remains 
  • No pets off-leash
  • No camping
  • No beach fires
  • No fireworks
  • No kite flying
  • No feeding wildlife
  • No horses or ATVs, except for authorized enforcement personnel

Lifeguards are not present at the beaches, so beachgoers are encouraged to never swim alone and to always remain cognizant of surroundings.

Surf Beach is open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wall and Minuteman beaches are open daily from sunrise to sunset.

Lompoc's Surf Beach fully reopened due to fledging of plover chicks

A Western snowy plover flies back to a nest in an undated photo.

Lisa André covers lifestyle and local news for Santa Ynez Valley News and Lompoc Record, as part of the Santa Maria Times.