Green Sea Turtle, ©Adam Victorino

Cool Water: President Obama Expands National Marine Monument

Wildlife benefit from refuge that is now ten times its original size!

Two weeks ago President Obama made the announcement that he was dramatically expanding the Pacific Remote Island Marine National Monument in the Pacific Ocean by over 490,000 square miles – making it ten times its current size! The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service administers the monument which is anchored around seven island national wildlife refuges. The seven atolls and islands included within the monument are farther from human population centers than any other U.S. area.

This is (literally) huge news for migrating birds and waterfowl, fish, and marine mammals that depend on the unique and diverse ecosystems around these refuge islands. And what is most exciting is that the president has now created the largest marine reserve in the world that is off-limits to commercial fishing. Commercial fishing and other resource extraction in sensitive marine areas present some of the biggest threats to at-risk species, and are the most significant contributors to worldwide declining fish populations.Staghorn coral, © Amanda Meyer/USFWS

The expanded Pacific Remote Islands National Monument will provide a necessary safe haven for protected wildlife, along with many other species that will benefit from these conservation efforts. Millions of seabirds from 19 different species depend on the refuge areas and play a critical role in the food chain in the shore ecosystems. In addition to the value to seabirds, the monument also expands the range in which manta rays can safely forage, supports at least 22 species of marine mammals and protects five species of sea turtles.

To expand the monument, President Obama used the authority granted to him by the Antiquities Act – and follows the footsteps of nearly every president since Theodore Roosevelt, who first passed and successfully enacted the law in 1906. The Antiquities Act grants presidents the ability to proclaim “historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures and other objects of historic or scientific interest” as national monuments. National monuments recognize and protect cultural and ecological wonders all over the United States and outlying territories and include such sites as mountains, deserts, bridges and statues from New York to Alaska, Florida to Hawaii and nearly everywhere in between. During his tenure, President Obama has designated 13 national monuments.

This most recent designation is of utmost importance to the great biodiversity of the Pacific region because while the area is one where so many unique and threatened marine species thrive, it is also particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. President Obama clearly recognizes the even greater urgency to conserve the region’s biodiversity in the face of climate change, and has taken a major step toward that conservation by expanding the scope and reach of this national monument.

19 Responses to “Cool Water: President Obama Expands National Marine Monument”

  1. Heidy

    Now you are the president we need so let see some more before you go away!

  2. Nanci

    I love what he is doing… and fighting the Rs who want to SELL our national parks to the highest bidders… for the sake of the environment, our animals that share this Earth, and for our grandchildren’s future!

  3. Tricia

    I know Obama was left with so much damage like the other presidents before him. I think he will take care of the wildlife because he has children who will want to see them again in their lifetime.

  4. patchur white

    ‘save all the endangered species!!’
    ‘save all the endangered species!!’

  5. Tricia Fidone

    Thank everyone, for efforts toward a kinder more balanced eco system, all these animals have a place here on earth, a help are planet stay healthy.

  6. Stephanie Christoff

    Thank you. If we don’t protect our animals, no one else will.

  7. Dennis S. Ferche Ph.D.

    Thanks to Obama and All for taking a meaningful step forward. However, i wish to share that, i believe, if we don’t soon stop endangering the oceans, and the lands,through our preparations for what is termed military defense; and if we don’t end the ongoing invasions of others, we may end up friendless among All. Becoming friendless among the life enabling processes on Earth is dangerous and inflationary. Finding even serious humor here is a struggle–(Remember the hydrogen bomb that fell from our plane in 1963 and landed on North Carolina.). Cheers to progress, Dennis 4 Friendly and Sustainable Tomorrows Among All.

  8. Annie Sousa

    Thanks Mr. President, now will you stop delisting animals off the endangered list when they are only just coming back and allowing trophy hunters to slaughter them.. Please.

  9. Erica Minglis

    There are little steps and then there are big steps. Thank you for caring enough to make the big step by protecting lives of all kinds.

  10. madeleine hamilton

    Thank you President Obama from the bottom of my heart. While there is still time can you save more of our world before the Republicans destroy it?

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