Resource Management

Christmas shearwater

Guided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's strong wildlife conservation ethic, the Refuge is primarily responsible for monitoring the health of most of the Pacific's subtropical seabird population and wildlife habitat. Providing a safe haven for 22 nesting seabird species, millions of seabirds arrive seasonally to breed, nest and rear their young. In addition, the Service is responsible for the well-being of all native birds and plant species, some that live nowhere else on the planet and whose genetically linked ancestors have long become extinct. Much of the staff’s efforts also support the work of the National Marine Fisheries Service by monitoring breeding habitat to increase chances of reproductive success for most of Hawai‘i‘s green sea turtle population as well as the critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal.

Every square inch of the Refuge lying above and below the ocean surface supports wildlife’s ability to reproduce. With the help of human hands, along with years of sub-tropical wildlife island management experience, refuge staff guides specific development of management strategies. For example, measures are in place to help successfully restore island ecosystems such as preventing non-native invasive plants from engulfing island habitat and reducing human impacts by removing literally tons of marine debris.

Foundational management goals were identified in an earlier Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge Master Plan (1978) and later encompassed in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument’s Management Plan (December 2008).

  1. Protect cultural resources from adverse impacts.
  2. Manage all emergent lands, exclusive of Tern Island as de facto wilderness. Nominate if appropriate Refuge lands and waters as wilderness. 
  3. Maintain seabird populations.
  4. Maintain and recover existing terrestrial and migrating birds, seabirds, shorebirds, landbirds, wading birds and waterfowl.
  5. Maintain and restore natural diversity of terrestrial endemic and native species ecosystems. 
  6. Conduct research studies, off and on-site activities where feasible for environmental education, interpretation, photography, journalism and art.
  7. Recover and maintain populations for Laysan duck, Laysan and Nihoa finch, Nihoa millerbird and green sea turtle.