albatross, Battle of Midway, Dolphins, endangered leatherback turtle, Endangered species act, endemic species, Great Frigatebirds, Hawaiian monk seal, killer whales, Midway Atoll, mining, National Marine Monuments, Native Hawaiian Culture, offshore drilling, oil and gas industry, PAPAHĀNAUMOKUĀKEA MARINE NATIONAL MONUMENT, Papahānaumokuākea, seabirds, threatened loggerhead and olive ridley turtles, U.S. Endangered Species Act, USS Yorktown, World War II
Comment on this and other threatened US Marine Monuments here, deadline extended to Aug. 15th, 11.59 PM (night) : https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=NOAA-NOS-2017-0066-0001
The endangered Hawaiian monk seal, for instance, forages well into the monument expansion area threatened by Trump who apparently wants to turn it over to energy and mining special interests.
The protected area was recently expanded to include the actual offshore Midway battle site, where many lay buried at sea and the foraging ground for endangered species. This is at stake. See too: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2017/07/23/wwii-midway-battle-site-national-ocean-monument-endangered-species-threatened-by-trump-comment-deadline-26-july-11-59-pm-et-1-min-to-midnight/
Why? They make it clear that it’s Trump’s greedy buddies, donors, and/or greedy Trump investments: The opportunity costs associated with potential energy and mineral exploration and production from the Outer Continental Shelf, in addition to any impacts on production in the adjacent region.” https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=NOAA-NOS-2017-0066-0001
From the World Heritage Inscription:
“Papahānaumokuākea as a Refuge for Rare and Globally Significant Species
Many species of plants and animals still exist in Papahānaumokuākea that once occurred in the main Hawaiian Islands (as evidenced by their presence in the fossil record), but could not survive after the arrival of humans and their commensal mammals. In all, there are 23 species found in Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument that are listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, and there are undoubtedly many more that might be eligible for listing, especially in the case of terrestrial arthropods (Evenhuis and Eldridge 2004). Additionally, Papahānaumokuākea is home to 22 IUCN Red-Listed species.
Furthermore, Papahānaumokuākea contains countless endemics, often species that have ranges limited to a single island. Four endangered endemic land birds are found in the Monument, and nowhere else in the world. The critically endangered Laysan Duck was once more widespread around the Hawaiian Archipelago but now occurs in only two places: 1) a small, relict population on Laysan Island where it breeds and forages around Laysan’s unusual hypersaline lake; and 2) in a recently translocated population at Midway Atoll.
Papahānaumokuākea is the most important habitat for insitu conservation of a number of endangered species. Hawaiian Monk Seals are found only in Hawai‘i, with the main breeding subpopulations located throughout the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and a small but growing population in the main Hawaiian Islands. This population represents one of only two monk seal populations remaining anywhere, as the monk seals of the Caribbean are extinct and the populations of the Mediterranean monk seals are perilously low, at below 350 individuals.
In 1988, the National Marine Fisheries Service designated critical habitat for the Hawaiian Monk Seal from shore to 20 fathoms around every island, atoll, and bank of Papahānaumokuākea, except Sand Island at Midway Atoll. This habitat includes “all beach areas, sand spits and islets, inner reef waters, and ocean waters.”
Papahānaumokuākea also provides nearly the entire nesting habitat for the threatened Hawaiian Green Turtle. On the undisturbed beaches of these remote atolls, both male and female turtles come ashore to bask on the beach in broad daylight, a behavior no longer seen in most other parts of the world. The critically endangered Hawksbill and Leatherback turtles, and the endangered Olive Ridley and Loggerhead turtles, are also found in Papahānaumokuākea.
In addition, the waters of Papahānaumokuākea are home to more than 20 cetacean species, six of them federally and/or internationally recognized as endangered. Recent research by Johnston et al. (2007) indicates that Papahānaumokuākea contains two-thirds of the humpback whale wintering habitat in the Hawaiian Archipelago. This study documented for the first time breeding and calving activity of humpback whales within Papahānaumokuākea.
Altogether, besides the 23 identified endangered species (U.S. ESA) found in Papahānaumokuākea, there are also hundreds, if not thousands, of endemic species. Papahānaumokuākea is the last or only home for these creatures, and they require continued protection to assure their existence. The terrestrial area of Papahānaumokuākea is very small compared to its marine area, and only the larger and higher islands are of sufficient size to support significant and diverse plant biota. All islands are dry, with minimal fresh water resources. Remarkably, given these limitations, the terrestrial areas of Papahānaumokuākea also support significant endemism. All the islands and atolls of Papahānaumokuākea except Gardner Pinnacles, Maro Reef and Midway support endemic species that are specific to their respective islands. This includes at least 145 species of endemic arthropods, six species of endangered endemic plants (including an endemic palm), and four species of endemic birds, including remarkably isolated species such as the Nihoa Finch, Nihoa Millerbird, Laysan Finch, and the Laysan Duck, one of the world’s rarest ducks. Three of these species (Nihoa Finch, Nihoa Millerbird, and Laysan Duck) are deemed critically endangered by the IUCN, and the Laysan Finch is listed as vulnerable.
In addition, millions of seabirds use the area for breeding and foraging, and as a transit corridor for migrations to the north and south.
At least six species of terrestrial plants found only in the region are listed under the U.S Endangered Species Act, some so rare that because of the difficulty of surveying these remote islands, they have not been documented for many years. The IUCN lists Cenchrus agrimonioides var. laysanensis from Laysan as extinct, though biologists hold hope that it may still exist. Amaranthus brownii, endemic to Nihoa, is deemed critically endangered by the IUCN, while Pritchardia remota is considered endangered. Although it has yet to be documented thoroughly, the terrestrial invertebrate fauna shows significant patterns of clear precinctive speciation, with endemic species described from Nihoa, Mokumanamana, French Frigate Shoals, Laysan, Lisianski, Pearl and Hermes, and Kure.” http://www.papahanaumokuakea.gov/wheritage/refuge.html http://www.papahanaumokuakea.gov/wheritage/welcome.html
Excerpted from PAPAHĀNAUMOKUĀKEA MARINE NATIONAL MONUMENT EXPANSION Proclamation: “Recent scientific research, utilizing new technology, has shown that many species identified as objects in Proclamation 8031 inhabit previously unknown geographical ranges that span beyond the existing Monument, and in some cases the adjacent area also provides important foraging habitat for these species.
For example, the endangered Hawaiian monk seal forages well beyond the existing Monument. Scientific research on Hawaiian monk seal foraging behavior has shown that monk seals may travel 80 miles and dive to depths of almost 2,000 feet while feeding.
Important bird species abound in the Monument and the adjacent area. Birds from the world’s largest colonies of Laysan albatross, Black-footed albatross, and Bonin petrels, as well as significant populations of shearwaters, petrels, tropicbirds, the endangered Short-tailed albatross, and other seabird species forage in the adjacent area. We now know that albatrosses and Great Frigatebirds rely on the adjacent area during chick-brooding periods, when their foraging is focused within 200 miles of the nesting colonies on the Monument’s islands and atolls. At other times, these wide-ranging species use a much broader range (over 1,600 miles) for foraging.
The adjacent area is a foraging and migration path for five species of protected sea turtles. While green and hawksbill turtles use the near-shore waters of the Monument for nesting, these species — along with the endangered leatherback turtle and threatened loggerhead and olive ridley turtles — migrate through the adjacent area to reach high-productivity foraging areas.
Twenty-four species of whales and dolphins have been sighted in the adjacent area. Three of these species are listed under the Endangered Species Act as threatened or endangered: sperm whales, fin whales, and sei whales. Cetacean use of the Monument Expansion varies; resident species such as spinner dolphins, false killer whales, and rough-toothed dolphins utilize the area year-round, whereas other species, such as humpback whales, use it as a wintering area. A wide variety of tropical and temperate water dolphin species inhabit the Monument Expansion, including pantropical spotted dolphins, spinner dolphins, striped dolphins, rough-toothed dolphins, and bottlenose dolphins. Several rarely sighted species of dolphin inhabit the area, including Risso’s and Fraser’s dolphins. Both of these species are primarily oceanic and found in waters deeper than 1,000 meters. Acoustic evidence also shows that endangered blue whales — the largest animals on Earth — visit the area and may migrate past the Hawaiian Islands twice a year.
Sharks, including tiger sharks and Galapagos sharks, are key species in the ecosystems of the Monument and adjacent area. These large and highly mobile predators have expansive home ranges and regularly move across the boundaries of the current Monument into the adjacent waters. Additionally, blue sharks, three species of thresher sharks, and two species of mako sharks inhabit the open ocean environment of the adjacent area.
The Monument and adjacent area are part of the most remote island archipelago on Earth. This biological and geographic isolation, coupled with unique oceanographic and geological conditions, has resulted in an ecosystem critical for new species formation and endemism. These forces result in some of the most unique and diverse ecological communities on the planet.
Importance to Native Hawaiian Culture
The ocean will always be seen as an integral part of cultural identity for the Native Hawaiian community. The deep sea, the ocean surface, the sky, and all the living things in the area adjacent to the Monument are important to this culture and are deeply rooted in creation and settlement stories. Native Hawaiian culture considers the Monument and the adjacent area a sacred place. This place contains the boundary between Ao, the world of light and the living, and Pō, the world of the gods and spirits from which all life is born and to which ancestors return after death. . . .
World War II shipwrecks and aircraft in the adjacent area, though not identified as objects under the Antiquities Act in this proclamation, are of great historic interest.
The naval portion of the Battle of Midway, one of the most important naval battles of World War II, occurred approximately 200 miles to the northeast of Midway Atoll, in the adjacent area. Deep-sea technologies have enabled the USS Yorktown, an aircraft carrier torpedoed during the battle, to be found at more than 16,000 feet below the ocean’s surface. Eyewitness accounts and historical records tell the stories of the destroyer USS Hammann, five Japanese vessels (the four aircraft carriers Hiryu, Soryu, Kaga, and Akagi, and the cruiser Mikuma), and several hundred aircraft that were also lost during the battle in this area. The locations of these vessels have yet to be identified. All told, the adjacent area serves as a final resting place for the more than 3,000 people lost during the battle.
WHEREAS, the waters and submerged lands adjacent to the Monument (west of 163° West Longitude and seaward from the boundaries delineated in Proclamation 8031 as amended by Proclamation 8112 out to the limit of the U.S. EEZ) contain objects of historic and scientific interest that are situated upon lands owned or controlled by the Federal Government; . . . .” Excerpted from: https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2016/08/26/presidential-proclamation-papahanaumokuakea-marine-national-monument
See much more here: https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Midway_Atoll/