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Jarvis Island
National Wildlife Refuge

1,300 miles south of
Honolulu, HI   
E-mail: Pacific_Reefs@fws.gov
Phone Number: 808-792-9560
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
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Jarvis Island National Wildlife Refuge

Jarvis Island National Wildlife Refuge, 18 miles south of the equator and 1,300 miles south of Honolulu, is over 36,400 acres, including 1,100-acre (1.6 square mile) Jarvis Island. The majority of the refuge is marine habitat, including extensive coral reefs and other inshore tropical ocean habitats. Jarvis is an uninhabited low, flat, and sandy; vegetated only by sparse grasses, prostrate vines, and low-growing shrubs (scant rainfall and intense sun).

Threatened green turtles and endangered hawksbill sea turtles forage near the reef along with hundreds of species of fish, corals, and other invertebrates. The refuge is closely monitoring the return of nesting seabirds totally removed from the island by feral cats, which were eliminated in the early 1980s.

Visitation is by special use permit only. The refuge is part of the Pacific Remote Islands National Wildlife Refuge Complex, whose office is in Honolulu.

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Wildlife and Habitat

Feral cats introduced some time between 1935 and 1942 were eliminated in 1990, and since then, seabird populations have rebounded. Jarvis has become the largest seabird colony in the Central Pacific, with millions of breeding seabirds and shorebirds.

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Although evidence exists of Polynesian occupancy in the Phoenix and Line Islands, none has been found at Jarvis Island. Prehistoric people could have used it as a stopping, resting, or gathering place during voyages across the pacific. However, due to the island's remoteness and lack of a sustainable freshwater supply, it probably played a minimal role, if any.

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The refuge is closed to the public.

Recreation and Education Opportunities
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Management Activities
Due to its extremely remote location, the Jarvis Island Refuge is only visited, on average, once every two years. Logistic support is difficult and costly (over $60,000 for a vessel charter). Therefore, the staff from the complex office coordinates closely with the U.S. Coast Guard for periodic no-cost transportation to the refuge in association with their patrols of the United States Exclusive Economic Zone in the area of Jarvis Island. Several trips have been conducted through coordination with ham radio operators who have been permitted to broadcast from the refuge. As part of their permit, they are required to transport at least one refuge staff member to monitor their activities.

Therefore, resource values are largely maintained by natural processes. The refuge is monitored on an infrequent basis to ensure that these values have not been compromised.

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