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United States Pacific Island Wildlife Refuges (Australia-Oceania)


Introduction :: United States Pacific Island Wildlife Refuges

Background: This entry usually highlights major historic events and current issues and may include a statement about one or two key future trends. Background field listing

All of the following US Pacific island territories except Midway Atoll constitute the Pacific Remote Islands National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Complex and as such are managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service of the US Department of the Interior. Midway Atoll NWR has been included in a Refuge Complex with the Hawaiian Islands NWR and also designated as part of Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. These remote refuges are the most widespread collection of marine- and terrestrial-life protected areas on the planet under a single country's jurisdiction. They sustain many endemic species including corals, fish, shellfish, marine mammals, seabirds, water birds, land birds, insects, and vegetation not found elsewhere.

Baker Island: The US took possession of the island in 1857. Its guano deposits were mined by US and British companies during the second half of the 19th century. In 1935, a short-lived attempt at colonization began on this island but was disrupted by World War II and thereafter abandoned. The island was established as a NWR in 1974.;

Howland Island: Discovered by the US early in the 19th century, the uninhabited atoll was officially claimed by the US in 1857. Both US and British companies mined for guano deposits until about 1890. In 1935, a short-lived attempt at colonization began on this island, similar to the effort on nearby Baker Island, but was disrupted by World War II and thereafter abandoned. The famed American aviatrix Amelia EARHART disappeared while seeking out Howland Island as a refueling stop during her 1937 round-the-world flight; Earhart Light, a day beacon near the middle of the west coast, was named in her memory. The island was established as a NWR in 1974.;

Jarvis Island: First discovered by the British in 1821, the uninhabited island was annexed by the US in 1858 but abandoned in 1879 after tons of guano had been removed. The UK annexed the island in 1889 but never carried out plans for further exploitation. The US occupied and reclaimed the island in 1935. It was abandoned in 1942 during World War II. The island was established as a NWR in 1974.;

Johnston Atoll: Both the US and the Kingdom of Hawaii annexed Johnston Atoll in 1858, but it was the US that mined the guano deposits until the late 1880s. Johnston and Sand Islands were designated wildlife refuges in 1926. The US Navy took over the atoll in 1934. Subsequently, the US Air Force assumed control in 1948. The site was used for high-altitude nuclear tests in the 1950s and 1960s. Until late in 2000 the atoll was maintained as a storage and disposal site for chemical weapons. Munitions destruction, cleanup, and closure of the facility were completed by May 2005. The Fish and Wildlife Service and the US Air Force are currently discussing future management options; in the interim, Johnston Atoll and the three-mile Naval Defensive Sea around it remain under the jurisdiction and administrative control of the US Air Force.;

Kingman Reef: The US annexed the reef in 1922. Its sheltered lagoon served as a way station for flying boats on Hawaii-to-American Samoa flights during the late 1930s. There are no terrestrial plants on the reef, which is frequently awash, but it does support abundant and diverse marine fauna and flora. In 2001, the waters surrounding the reef out to 12 nm were designated a NWR.;

Midway Islands: The US took formal possession of the islands in 1867. The laying of the transpacific cable, which passed through the islands, brought the first residents in 1903. Between 1935 and 1947, Midway was used as a refueling stop for transpacific flights. The US naval victory over a Japanese fleet off Midway in 1942 was one of the turning points of World War II. The islands continued to serve as a naval station until closed in 1993. Today the islands are a NWR and are the site of the world's largest Laysan albatross colony.;

Palmyra Atoll: The Kingdom of Hawaii claimed the atoll in 1862, and the US included it among the Hawaiian Islands when it annexed the archipelago in 1898. The Hawaii Statehood Act of 1959 did not include Palmyra Atoll, which is now partly privately owned by the Nature Conservancy with the rest owned by the Federal government and managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. These organizations are managing the atoll as a wildlife refuge. The lagoons and surrounding waters within the 12-nm US territorial seas were transferred to the US Fish and Wildlife Service and designated a NWR in January 2001.

Geography :: United States Pacific Island Wildlife Refuges

Location: This entry identifies the country's regional location, neighboring countries, and adjacent bodies of water. Location field listing

Oceania

Baker Island: atoll in the North Pacific Ocean 3,390 km southwest of Honolulu, about halfway between Hawaii and Australia;

Howland Island: island in the North Pacific Ocean 3,360 km southwest of Honolulu, about halfway between Hawaii and Australia;

Jarvis Island: island in the South Pacific Ocean 2,415 km south of Honolulu, about halfway between Hawaii and Cook Islands;

Johnston Atoll: atoll in the North Pacific Ocean 1,330 km southwest of Honolulu, about one-third of the way from Hawaii to the Marshall Islands;

Kingman Reef: reef in the North Pacific Ocean 1,720 km south of Honolulu, about halfway between Hawaii and American Samoa;

Midway Islands: atoll in the North Pacific Ocean 2,335 km northwest of Honolulu near the end of the Hawaiian Archipelago, about one-third of the way from Honolulu to Tokyo;

Palmyra Atoll: atoll in the North Pacific Ocean 1,780 km south of Honolulu, about halfway between Hawaii and American Samoa
Geographic coordinates: This entry includes rounded latitude and longitude figures for the centroid or center point of a country expressed in degrees and minutes; it is based on the locations provided in the Geographic Names Server (GNS), maintained by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency on behalf of the US Board on Geographic Names. Geographic coordinates field listing

Baker Island: 0 13 N, 176 28 W;

Howland Island: 0 48 N, 176 38 W;

Jarvis Island: 0 23 S, 160 01 W;

Johnston Atoll: 16 45 N, 169 31 W;

Kingman Reef: 6 23 N, 162 25 W;

Midway Islands: 28 12 N, 177 22 W;

Palmyra Atoll: 5 53 N, 162 05 W
Map references: This entry includes the name of the Factbook reference map on which a country may be found. Note that boundary representations on these maps are not necessarily authoritative. The entry on Geographic coordinates may be helpful in finding some smaller countries. Map references field listing
Oceania
Area: This entry includes three subfields. Total area is the sum of all land and water areas delimited by international boundaries and/or coastlines. Land area is the aggregate of all surfaces delimited by international boundaries and/or coastlines, excluding inland water bodies (lakes, reservoirs, rivers). Water area is the sum of the surfaces of all inland water bodies, such as lakes, reservoirs, or rivers, as delimited by international boundaries and/or coastlines. Area field listing
land: 6,959.41 sq km (emergent land - 22.41 sq km; submerged - 6,937 sq km)
Baker Island: total - 129.1 sq km; emergent land - 2.1 sq km; submerged - 127 sq km
Howland Island: total - 138.6 sq km; emergent land - 2.6 sq km; submerged - 136 sq km
Jarvis Island: total - 152 sq km; emergent land - 5 sq km; submerged - 147 sq km
Johnston Atoll: total - 276.6 sq km; emergent land - 2.6 sq km; submerged - 274 sq km
Kingman Reef: total - 1,958.01 sq km; emergent land - 0.01 sq km; submerged - 1,958 sq km
Midway Islands: total - 2,355.2 sq km; emergent land - 6.2 sq km; submerged - 2,349 sq km
Palmyra Atoll: total - 1,949.9 sq km; emergent land - 3.9 sq km; submerged - 1,946 sq km
Area - comparative: This entry provides an area comparison based on total area equivalents. Most entities are compared with the entire US or one of the 50 states based on area measurements (1990 revised) provided by the US Bureau of the Census. The smaller entities are compared with Washington, DC (178 sq km, 69 sq mi) or The Mall in Washington, DC (0.59 sq km, 0.23 sq mi, 146 acres). Area - comparative field listing

Baker Island: about 2.5 times the size of the National Mall in Washington, DC;

Howland Island: about three times the size of the National Mall in Washington, DC;

Jarvis Island: about eight times the size of the National Mall in Washington, DC;

Johnston Atoll: about 4.5 times the size of the National Mall in Washington, DC;

Kingman Reef: a little more than 1.5 times the size of the National Mall in Washington, DC;

Midway Islands: about nine times the size of the National Mall in Washington, DC;

Palmyra Atoll: about 20 times the size of the National Mall in Washington, DC
Land boundaries: This entry contains the total length of all land boundaries and the individual lengths for each of the contiguous border countries. When available, official lengths published by national statistical agencies are used. Because surveying methods may differ, country border lengths reported by contiguous countries may differ. Land boundaries field listing
0 km
Coastline: This entry gives the total length of the boundary between the land area (including islands) and the sea. Coastline field listing
Baker Island: 4.8 km
Howland Island: 6.4 km
Jarvis Island: 8 km
Johnston Atoll: 34 km
Kingman Reef: 3 km
Midway Islands: 15 km
Palmyra Atoll: 14.5 km
Maritime claims: This entry includes the following claims, the definitions of which are excerpted from the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which alone contains the full and definitive descriptions: territorial sea - the sovereignty of a coastal state extends beyond its land territory and internal waters to an adjacent belt of sea, described as the territorial sea in the UNCLOS (Part II); this sovereignty extends to the air space over the territorial sea as well as its underlying s . . . more Maritime claims field listing
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate: This entry includes a brief description of typical weather regimes throughout the year; in the Word entry only, it includes four subfields that describe climate extremes:ten driest places on earth (average annual precipitation) describes the annual average precipitation measured in both millimeters and inches for selected countries with climate extremes. ten wettest places on earth (average annual precipitation) describes the annual average precipitation measured in both millimeters and i . . . more Climate field listing

Baker, Howland, and Jarvis Islands: equatorial; scant rainfall, constant wind, burning sun;

Johnston Atoll and Kingman Reef: tropical, but generally dry; consistent northeast trade winds with little seasonal temperature variation;

Midway Islands: subtropical with cool, moist winters (December to February) and warm, dry summers (May to October); moderated by prevailing easterly winds; most of the 107 cm of annual rainfall occurs during the winter;

Palmyra Atoll: equatorial, hot; located within the low pressure area of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) where the northeast and southeast trade winds meet, it is extremely wet with between 400-500 cm of rainfall each year
Terrain: This entry contains a brief description of the topography. Terrain field listing
low and nearly flat sandy coral islands with narrow fringing reefs that have developed at the top of submerged volcanic mountains, which in most cases rise steeply from the ocean floor
Elevation: This entry includes the mean elevation and elevation extremes, lowest point and highest point. Elevation field listing
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Baker Island, unnamed location 8 m; Howland Island, unnamed location 3 m; Jarvis Island, unnamed location 7 m; Johnston Atoll, Sand Island 10 m; Kingman Reef, unnamed location 2 m; Midway Islands, unnamed location less than 13 m; Palmyra Atoll, unnamed location 3 m
Natural resources: This entry lists a country's mineral, petroleum, hydropower, and other resources of commercial importance, such as rare earth elements (REEs). In general, products appear only if they make a significant contribution to the economy, or are likely to do so in the future. Natural resources field listing
terrestrial and aquatic wildlife
Land use: This entry contains the percentage shares of total land area for three different types of land use: agricultural land, forest, and other; agricultural land is further divided into arable land - land cultivated for crops like wheat, maize, and rice that are replanted after each harvest, permanent crops - land cultivated for crops like citrus, coffee, and rubber that are not replanted after each harvest, and includes land under flowering shrubs, fruit trees, nut trees, and vines, and permane . . . more Land use field listing
agricultural land: 0% (2011 est.)
arable land: 0% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 0% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 0% (2011 est.)
forest: 0% (2011 est.)
other: 100% (2011 est.)
Natural hazards: This entry lists potential natural disasters. For countries where volcanic activity is common, a volcanism subfield highlights historically active volcanoes. Natural hazards field listing

Baker, Howland, and Jarvis Islands: the narrow fringing reef surrounding the island poses a maritime hazard;

Kingman Reef: wet or awash most of the time, maximum elevation of less than 2 m makes Kingman Reef a maritime hazard;

Midway Islands, Johnston, and Palmyra Atolls: NA
Environment - current issues: This entry lists the most pressing and important environmental problems. The following terms and abbreviations are used throughout the entry: Acidification - the lowering of soil and water pH due to acid precipitation and deposition usually through precipitation; this process disrupts ecosystem nutrient flows and may kill freshwater fish and plants dependent on more neutral or alkaline conditions (see acid rain). Acid rain - characterized as containing harmful levels of sulfur dioxi . . . more Environment - current issues field listing

Baker Island: no natural freshwater resources; feral cats, introduced in 1937 during a short-lived colonization effort, ravaged the avian population and were eradicated in 1965

Howland Island: no natural freshwater resources; the island habitat has suffered from invasive exotic species; black rats, introduced in 1854, were eradicated by feral cats within a year of their introduction in 1937; the cats preyed on the bird population and were eliminated by 1985

Jarvis Island: no natural freshwater resources; feral cats, introduced in the 1930s during a short-lived colonization venture, were not completely removed until 1990

Johnston Atoll: no natural freshwater resources; the seven decades under US military administration (1934-2004) left the atoll environmentally degraded and required large-scale remediation efforts; a swarm of Anoplolepis (crazy) ants invaded the island in 2010 damaging native wildlife; eradication has been largely, but not completely, successful

Midway Islands: many exotic species introduced, 75% of the roughly 200 plant species on the island are non-native; plastic pollution harms wildlife, via entanglement, ingestion, and toxic contamination

Kingman Reef: none

Palmyra Atoll: black rats, believed to have been introduced to the atoll during the US military occupation of the 1940s, severely degraded the ecosystem outcompeting native species (seabirds, crabs); following a successful rat removal project in 2011, native flora and fauna have begun to recover
Geography - note: This entry includes miscellaneous geographic information of significance not included elsewhere. Geography - note field listing

Baker, Howland, and Jarvis Islands: scattered vegetation consisting of grasses, prostrate vines, and low growing shrubs; primarily a nesting, roosting, and foraging habitat for seabirds, shorebirds, and marine wildlife; closed to the public;

Johnston Atoll: Johnston Island and Sand Island are natural islands, which have been expanded by coral dredging; North Island (Akau) and East Island (Hikina) are manmade islands formed from coral dredging; the egg-shaped reef is 34 km in circumference; closed to the public;

Kingman Reef: barren coral atoll with deep interior lagoon; closed to the public;

Midway Islands: a coral atoll managed as a National Wildlife Refuge and open to the public for wildlife-related recreation in the form of wildlife observation and photography;

Palmyra Atoll: the high rainfall and resulting lush vegetation make the environment of this atoll unique among the US Pacific Island territories; supports a large undisturbed stand of Pisonia beach forest

People and Society :: United States Pacific Island Wildlife Refuges

Population: This entry gives an estimate from the US Bureau of the Census based on statistics from population censuses, vital statistics registration systems, or sample surveys pertaining to the recent past and on assumptions about future trends. The total population presents one overall measure of the potential impact of the country on the world and within its region. Note: Starting with the 1993 Factbook, demographic estimates for some countries (mostly African) have explicitly taken into account t . . . more Population field listing
no indigenous inhabitants

note: public entry is only by special-use permit from US Fish and Wildlife Service and generally restricted to scientists and educators; visited annually by US Fish and Wildlife Service

Jarvis Island: Millersville settlement on western side of island occasionally used as a weather station from 1935 until World War II, when it was abandoned; reoccupied in 1957 during the International Geophysical Year by scientists who left in 1958; currently unoccupied

Johnston Atoll: in previous years, an average of 1,100 US military and civilian contractor personnel were present; as of May 2005, all US Government personnel had left the island

Midway Islands: approximately 40 people make up the staff of US Fish and Wildlife Service and their services contractor living at the atoll

Palmyra Atoll: four to 20 Nature Conservancy, US Fish and Wildlife staff, and researchers

 

Government :: United States Pacific Island Wildlife Refuges

Country name: This entry includes all forms of the country's name approved by the US Board on Geographic Names (Italy is used as an example): conventional long form (Italian Republic), conventional short form (Italy), local long form (Repubblica Italiana), local short form (Italia), former (Kingdom of Italy), as well as the abbreviation. Also see the Terminology note. Country name field listing
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Baker Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Midway Islands, Palmyra Atoll
etymology: self-descriptive name specifying the territories' affiliation and location
Dependency status: This entry describes the formal relationship between a particular nonindependent entity and an independent state. Dependency status field listing
with the exception of Palmyra Atoll, the constituent islands are unincorporated, unorganized territories of the US; administered from Washington, DC, by the Fish and Wildlife Service of the US Department of the Interior as part of the National Wildlife Refuge System

note: Palmyra Atoll is partly privately owned and partly federally owned; the federally owned portion is administered from Washington, DC, by the Fish and Wildlife Service of the US Department of the Interior as an incorporated, unorganized territory of the US; the Office of Insular Affairs of the US Department of the Interior continues to administer nine excluded areas comprising certain tidal and submerged lands within the 12 nm territorial sea or within the lagoon
Legal system: This entry provides the description of a country's legal system. A statement on judicial review of legislative acts is also included for a number of countries. The legal systems of nearly all countries are generally modeled upon elements of five main types: civil law (including French law, the Napoleonic Code, Roman law, Roman-Dutch law, and Spanish law); common law (including United State law); customary law; mixed or pluralistic law; and religious law (including Islamic law). An addition . . . more Legal system field listing
the laws of the US apply where applicable
Diplomatic representation from the US: This entry includes the chief of mission, embassy address, mailing address, telephone number, FAX number, branch office locations, consulate general locations, and consulate locations. Diplomatic representation from the US field listing
none (territories of the US)
Flag description: This entry provides a written flag description produced from actual flags or the best information available at the time the entry was written. The flags of independent states are used by their dependencies unless there is an officially recognized local flag. Some disputed and other areas do not have flags. Flag description field listing
the flag of the US is used

Economy :: United States Pacific Island Wildlife Refuges

Economy - overview: This entry briefly describes the type of economy, including the degree of market orientation, the level of economic development, the most important natural resources, and the unique areas of specialization. It also characterizes major economic events and policy changes in the most recent 12 months and may include a statement about one or two key future macroeconomic trends. Economy - overview field listing
no economic activity

Energy :: United States Pacific Island Wildlife Refuges

Crude oil - production: This entry is the total amount of crude oil produced, in barrels per day (bbl/day). Crude oil - production field listing
0 bbl/day (2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 212

Military and Security :: United States Pacific Island Wildlife Refuges

Military - note: This entry includes miscellaneous military information of significance not included elsewhere. Military - note field listing
defense is the responsibility of the US

Transportation :: United States Pacific Island Wildlife Refuges

Airports: This entry gives the total number of airports or airfields recognizable from the air. The runway(s) may be paved (concrete or asphalt surfaces) or unpaved (grass, earth, sand, or gravel surfaces) and may include closed or abandoned installations. Airports or airfields that are no longer recognizable (overgrown, no facilities, etc.) are not included. Note that not all airports have accommodations for refueling, maintenance, or air traffic control. Airports field listing
Baker Island: one abandoned World War II runway of 1,665 m covered with vegetation and unusable (2013)
Howland Island: airstrip constructed in 1937 for scheduled refueling stop on the round-the-world flight of Amelia EARHART and Fred NOONAN; the aviators left Lae, New Guinea, for Howland Island but were never seen again; the airstrip is no longer serviceable (2013)
Johnston Atoll: one closed and not maintained (2013)
Kingman Reef: lagoon was used as a halfway station between Hawaii and American Samoa by Pan American Airways for flying boats in 1937 and 1938 (2013)
Midway Islands: 3 - one operational (2,377 m paved); no fuel for sale except emergencies (2013)
Palmyra Atoll: 1 - 1,846 m unpaved runway; privately owned (2013)
Airports - with paved runways: This entry gives the total number of airports with paved runways (concrete or asphalt surfaces) by length. For airports with more than one runway, only the longest runway is included according to the following five groups - (1) over 3,047 m (over 10,000 ft), (2) 2,438 to 3,047 m (8,000 to 10,000 ft), (3) 1,524 to 2,437 m (5,000 to 8,000 ft), (4) 914 to 1,523 m (3,000 to 5,000 ft), and (5) under 914 m (under 3,000 ft). Only airports with usable runways are included in this listing. Not all . . . more Airports - with paved runways field listing
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 - Johnston Atoll; (2016)
note - abandoned but usable
Airports - with unpaved runways: This entry gives the total number of airports with unpaved runways (grass, dirt, sand, or gravel surfaces) by length. For airports with more than one runway, only the longest runway is included according to the following five groups - (1) over 3,047 m (over 10,000 ft), (2) 2,438 to 3,047 m (8,000 to 10,000 ft), (3) 1,524 to 2,437 m (5,000 to 8,000 ft), (4) 914 to 1,523 m (3,000 to 5,000 ft), and (5) under 914 m (under 3,000 ft). Only airports with usable runways are included in this listin . . . more Airports - with unpaved runways field listing
1 - Palmyra Atoll (2016)
Roadways: This entry gives the total length of the road network and includes the length of the paved and unpaved portions. Roadways field listing
Ports and terminals: This entry lists major ports and terminals primarily on the basis of the amount of cargo tonnage shipped through the facilities on an annual basis. In some instances, the number of containers handled or ship visits were also considered. Most ports service multiple classes of vessels including bulk carriers (dry and liquid), break bulk cargoes (goods loaded individually in bags, boxes, crates, or drums; sometimes palletized), containers, roll-on/roll-off, and passenger ships. The listing le . . . more Ports and terminals field listing
major seaport(s): Baker, Howland, and Jarvis Islands, and Kingman Reef
Baker, Howland, and Jarvis Islands, and Kingman Reef: none; offshore anchorage only
Johnston Atoll: Johnston Island
Midway Islands: Sand Island
Palmyra Atoll: West Lagoon

Transnational Issues :: United States Pacific Island Wildlife Refuges

Disputes - international: This entry includes a wide variety of situations that range from traditional bilateral boundary disputes to unilateral claims of one sort or another. Information regarding disputes over international terrestrial and maritime boundaries has been reviewed by the US Department of State. References to other situations involving borders or frontiers may also be included, such as resource disputes, geopolitical questions, or irredentist issues; however, inclusion does not necessarily constitute . . . more Disputes - international field listing

none

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