Skip Navigation

Resource Management

Outplanting on Sand IslandThe principal refuge management objective on land is to enhance the quality of habitat for the full diversity of nesting seabird species. This will be accomplished by preventing the reintroduction of rats, by controlling noxious plants and by replanting specific areas with native vegetation. 

Several steps have been taken or are underway to minimize human activities that adversely impact wildlife. Examples include the elimination of overhead wiring, the modification of lights that disorient night-flying birds and the timing of construction or repair activities to reduce wildlife impacts. Some particularly important beaches have been declared "off limits" to encourage undisturbed use of these areas by seals. 

  • Marine Protection - Protect shoreline and marine habitat that supports bird, wildlife, and fish species, and their critical life activities such as resting, feeding, nesting, fledging, migrating, etc. No public access is allowed.
  • Revegetation/Habitat - Midway Atoll is a highly disturbed system that hosts invasive plant species, toxic materials, and human development remnants that, taken together, have created significant adverse impact on indigenous species and their habitat. Efforts will focus on restoring atoll habitat and enhancing species populations.
  • Beach - Shoreline that is open to the public for passive recreation and educational activities such as walking, bird and wildlife watching, and beach viewing - primarily on the north beach of Sand Island. No beach access is available on Spit Island, and the only access allowed on Eastern Island is via the boat dock.
  • Inner Harbor - This includes the historic Inner Harbor and its associated shoreline, piers, and facilities. One of two approaches to the island (boat or plane), the inner harbor is critical to transportation of services and goods, and water-based activities.
  • Airfield Operations - The Airfield Operations on Sand Island comprises the active Henderson Airfield and includes the new operations center, the old hangar, the active runway, and inactive runway portions. The airfield operations is critical to transportation of services and goods, and aviation activities.
  • Freshwater Protection - The Freshwater Protection is a large triangular portion of the runway area from which surface water is collected in the catchment basin and then pumped into the three freshwater storage tanks.
  • Historic and Primary Development - The Historic and Primary Development designates Sand Island’s historic core and redevelopment area. It delineates an area that is highly significant in terms of historic development patterns on Sand Island related to the Cable Company historic period (early 1900s) and World War II historic period (1940s). One of the principal goals of Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge is to preserve and interpret these unique historical resources.
  • Research - The diverse populations of fish and wildlife, coupled with the capability to provide logistical support to investigators, make Midway Atoll an ideal site to conduct long-term scientific research. Data resulting from these projects are critical to the conservation of Midway's natural resources. 

Ongoing Projects:


 Verbacina Restoration

  • Verbesina Control Project - Control is focused on hand pulling Verbesina in sensitive areas where wetlands and high densities of native plants occur, and spraying appropriate herbicides.
  • Termite Control - Termite control was reinitiated around a portion of the buildings at Midway. With appropriate funding, this program may be expanded to included all historical and functional use buildings.
  • Mosquito Control - Mosquitos were accidentally introduced to the refuge in the early 1900s and act as vectors to transmit avian pox to seabirds. A large scale program was initiated between 2004 to 2007 to eliminate the majority of the mosquito breeding sites. This work seems to have been successful and now very few cases of avian pox are observed on the refuge.
  • Lead Paint Abatement - Lead paint that chips off buildings at Midway is inadvertently ingested by a portion of the albatross chicks on the refuge. This can lead to nervous system damage and death. The refuge has received funding to begin to remove lead paint from the buildings and soil to reduce lead-induced mortality in albatross chicks. 
Page Photo Credits — Sandra Hall/USFWS
Last Updated: Nov 12, 2014
Return to main navigation