U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
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Johnston Atoll
National Wildlife Refuge

717 nautical miles west-southwest of
Honolulu, HI   96850 - 5167
E-mail: Pacific_Reefs@fws.gov
Phone Number: 808-792-9560
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
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In 1926, Johnston Island and Sand Island were designated as a federal bird refuge. In 1934, President Franklin Roosevelt placed the atoll under U.S. Navy control, but retained its status as a refuge. In 1936, the Navy began the first of many changes to the atoll. By 1964, dredge and fill operations had increased the size of Johnston Island to 596 acres from its original 46 acres, also increased Sand Island from 10 to 22 acres, and added two new islands, North and East of 25 and 18 acres.

Starting in the late 1940s, Johnston Atoll played an important role in the United States' nuclear testing program. From the late 1950s to 1962, high-altitude nuclear testing was carried out at Johnston Atoll. Chemical munitions were also stockpiled on Johnston and subsequently incinerated in the Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System, built in 1990 and disassembled in 2004 after completion of its mission. By November 2003, the Army completed clean-up and demolition of the incinerator buildings. By May 2005, almost all of Johnston Island's infrastructure had been removed, and all personnel left the atoll, including refuge staff.

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