What We Do

Refuges use a wide range of land management tools based on the best science available. Our Refuge conservation toolbox includes: invasive species invasive species
An invasive species is any plant or animal that has spread or been introduced into a new area where they are, or could, cause harm to the environment, economy, or human, animal, or plant health. Their unwelcome presence can destroy ecosystems and cost millions of dollars.

Learn more about invasive species
control, habitat restoration, removal of infrastructure to provide more habitat  

The 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. 

Management and Conservation

Monument Management Plan 

Following a tradition started by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1909, on June 15, 2006, President George W. Bush established the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument, setting apart 139,793 square miles of federal lands and waters to protect the area’s significant natural, cultural, and historic resources. The monument is managed by the Department of the Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in close coordination with the State of Hawai‘i. 

Included within the National Marine Monument are two National Wildlife Refuges: the Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge extending from Nihoa Island to Manawai (Pearl and Hermes Atoll), and Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. Midway Atoll (Kuaihelani) also is designated as the Battle of Midway National Memorial. The National Monument also includes the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve administered by NOAA and the State Marine Refuge managed by the State of Hawai‘i. On February 28, 2007, the proclamation was amended to give the monument a Native Hawaiian name - Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. 

Our Projects and Research

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. 

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 remove lead paint from the buildings and soil to reduce lead-induced mortality in albatross chicks.  

Seabird Protection Project

Midway is famous for its seabirds, including the most famous bird in the world, Wisdom the albatross. Explore the plan to protect Midwayʻs seabirds and address one of the main threats to them. 

Seabird Protection Project Regulatory Documents: 

Final Environmental Assessment and FONSI

Biological Assessment

NOAA/NMFS Essential Fish Habitat Conservation Recommendation

 

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Moving Black-Footed Albatross to Oahu

Why put albatross chicks on a 1300 mile plane ride from Midway Atoll to Oʻahu?

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Honoring Those Who Served

Each year, the Service leads and coordinates events, that continue to honor the World War II veterans at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge and Battle of Midway National Memorial.  

Battle of Midway 79th Anniversary Commemoration Ceremony

Law Enforcement

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service law enforcement officers have a wide variety of duties and responsibilities. At Midway Atoll NWR, they work closely with other federal and state government offices to enforce federal, state and refuge regulations that protect wildlife and limit trespass. 

Laws and Regulations

Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge and Battle of Midway National Memorial is currently closed to public visitation. Only activities that directly support airfield operations and conservation management of the Refuge/Memorial and the Monument are allowed. 

All activities and entrance into the refuge require a permit. Please review the Papahānaumokuākea's permitting program website for more information. 

Visit Papahānaumokuākea's Permits