From the bottom of the Mariana Trench to the top of Maunakea, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has management and regulatory responsibilities for an area larger than the continental U.S. This includes Hawaiʻi, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam. The Service also works with the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, and the Marshall Islands.
The Service’s management responsibilities in the Pacific Islands first date to 1909 when President Theodore Roosevelt established the Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge. Today, the Service programs throughout the Pacific Islands include four Marine National Monuments, 22 National Wildlife Refuges, and the Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, as well as other offices, including Law Enforcement, Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration, Migratory Birds, and Science Applications. Our employees work across six time zones and on both sides of the International Date Line. They protect, conserve and enhance the natural resources of the Pacific Islands — many of which are found nowhere else in the world.
With responsibility for over ¾ billon acres and 578 threatened and endangered species, partnerships are essential to conservation in the Pacific. The Service works with partners and communities to recover listed species and prevent their extinction, and conserve lands and waters for the future. Ongoing collaborations and partnerships exist with the Department of Defense, other federal, state, and territorial agencies, indigenous communities, and local NGOs. Examples include:
· Establishing predator-proof fencing on national wildlife refuges, and other federal and state lands, to protect threatened and endangered seabirds, waterbirds, and snails from invasive predators such as cats, rats, and mongoose.
· Recovering species like nēnē (Hawaiian goose) — after 60 years of collaborative conservation work by federal, state, non-governmental organizations, and local partners the Service has proposed downlisting the the nēnē from endangered to threatened.
· Preventing the rarest plants from disappearing through the Plant Extinction Prevention Program, a partnership that protects 236 of Hawaii’s listed plants.
· Restoring habitat with partners and on private lands, including work with Pulama Lānaʻi to restore the Island of Lānaʻi.
· Combating and preventing the spread of invasive species like the brown tree snake — this introduced predator is responsible for the extirpation of most native bird species on Guam.
· Working to stop trafficking of protected wildlife species and products, including ivory, sea turtles, and shark fins.
· Providing technical support and capacity and on-the-ground funding — in fiscal year 2018, the Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program provided $25 Million to state and territorial fish and wildlife management agencies.
Conserving fish, wildlife, and their habitats includes honoring their role in our shared history and cultures. The Service incorporates traditional and cultural knowledge into conservation efforts like those led by the community at the Kalaeloa Unit of Pearl Harbor National Wildlife Refuge. Community members, working to restore and monitor listed anchialine shrimp pools, remove invasive weeds, and plant and tend over 2,000 native and listed plants, have contributed over 5,000 volunteer hours.
The iconic species and places of the Pacific — from the threatened ʻiʻiwi (scarlet honeycreeper) to the world’s largest albatross colony at Battle of Midway National Memorial and Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge — draw global attention and passion. There are over one million annual visitor to national wildlife refuges in the Pacific Islands and millions more virtually visit these amazing places through environmental education programs, virtual reality dives at coral reefs, web-based tours of remote islands, media stories and movies, and web and social media.
Whether in coral reefs, freshwater streams, rainforests, or alpine deserts — in the Pacific you will find the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service working with partners to ensure a future for America’s fish, wildlife, and their habitat.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information, connect with us through any of these social media channels at https://www.facebook.com/PacificIslandsFWS, www.flickr.com/photos/usfwspacific/, or www.twitter.com/USFWSPacific.