HomePacific IslanderBiden to rename national monument to honor NHPI

Biden to rename national monument to honor NHPI

President Joe Biden ordered Interior Secretary Gina Raimondo to begin the process of renaming the Pacific Remote Islands National Monument to recognize its ties to the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Island communities.

Axios reports the action also calls for the renaming of U.S. islands in the Central Pacific Ocean for the same reason.

The decision came on the same day the White House announced it is taking steps to preserve and protect a new national marine sanctuary of roughly 777,000 square miles southwest of Hawaii.

The current Monument area is 495,000 square miles and includes seven islands and atolls: Baker, Howland, and Jarvis Island; Johnston, Wake, and Palmyra Atoll; and Kingman Reef.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration describes the area as “one of the most pristine tropical marine environments in the world, but vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification.”

It includes corrals, fish, shellfish, marine mammals, seabirds, land birds, insects, and vegetation not found anywhere else in the world.

Farreid glass sponges are visible in the foreground of this fairly high-density sponge community found at about 2,360 meters (7,740 feet) depth. Corals were also present, but in lower abundance. Iridogorgia and bamboo coral are in the background. via NOAA

Many species in the area are both threatened or endangered. They include the green and hawksbill turtles, pearl oysters, giant clams, reef sharks, coconut crabs, groupers, humphead and Napoleon wrasses, bumphead parrotfish, dolphins, and whales.

The Wake Atoll is considered an important habitat for seabird and migratory shorebird as well as the coral reef.

Howland, Baker, and Jarvis Islands sits on the equator and boast 15 different breeding seabird species.

Johnston Atoll is one of the oldest in the Pacific Ocean and is home of 45 coral species, many found only in the Hawaiian and northern Line Islands.

Kingman Reef has more sharks and jacks than any other studied ecosystem in the world.

Palmyra Atoll is the habitat of 11 different species of seabirds including one of the largest red-footed booby colonies in the world and the largest black noddy colony in the Central Pacific.

Efforts are underway to protect these pristine areas from the negative impact of climate change.

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