Midway Atoll National Willdife Refuge, at the far northwestern end of Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, is one of the world's most spectacular wildlife experiences. Nearly three million birds call it home, including the world's largest population of Laysan Albatrosses, or "gooney birds". Whether it's nesting albatross on your doorstep, white terns on your windowsill or bonin petrels underneath your lawn, Midway's wildlife have adapted to the presence of the human residents and visitors. The refuge includes nearly 300,000 acres of marine waters that are home to Hawaiian monk seals, green sea turtles, more than 250 species of fish, and hundreds of spinner dolphins. Site of the pivotal World War II naval battle in 1942, Midway is also recognized as the Battle of Midway National Memorial. In April 1997 when the Navy formally transferred management of Midway to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Navy Secretary John Dalton described the changing mission of Midway as a transition "from guns to gooneys." When Midway became a national wildlife refuge, it joined a network of more than 550 separate units of the National Wildlife Refuge System, encompassing over 150 million acres, throughout all 50 states and several territories and possessions. Refuges represent the only Federal lands and waters set aside and managed principally for the conservation of fish and wildlife.
John Klavitter is currently the deputy refuge manager at Midway Atoll NWR and has lived and worked at Midway for nearly 10 years. John will talk about the many management challenges they face including downsizing the infrastructure from a naval base to a wildlife refuge, running what is effectively a small city, managing a fully functional emergency airfield, supervising volunteers to count nearly half a million nesting seabirds, coordinating with visiting researchers, supporting NOAA field crews working with the critically endangered Hawaiian monk seals, successfully establishing a second population of endangered Laysan ducks, eradicating rats and other invasive species, mitigating the effects of marine debris, and in March 2011 implementing their emergency plan in response to the devastating tsunami.
For more information, please contact Bret Wolfe, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (firstname.lastname@example.org, (703)358-2158).