Projects and Research

Protection Island Restoration

The project germinated while drafting the Protection Island NWR Comprehensive Conservation Plan which was signed in 2010. The goal is to restore up to 200 acres of upland prairie habitat. The project began in 2015 with a test plot to determine if the threatened golden paintbrush (Castilleja levisecta) could be re-introduced to the island. That successful test led to progressively larger experimental plots to test treatment methods for removing non-native vegetation, prescribed fire suitability, seed mixes, and seeding methods. Staff, volunteers and partners have made great progress in understanding how to best move forward with restoring native prairie habitat on Protection Island. 


Refuge staff conduct research and monitoring on Protection Island annually. Projects have included quantifying abundance and distribution of wildlife on the island during the breeding and non-breeding season, studies focused on seabird diet and productivity as well as native pollinator inventories. Various partners also implement targeted research on both Protection Island NWR and the Zella Schultz Seabird Sanctuary including seabird occupancy, diet and productivity studies, response to changing ocean conditions, health assessments, and forage fish productivity.