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Bush to create world’s biggest ocean preserve

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WASHINGTON - President Bush on Thursday is expected to announce the creation of the world's largest marine protected area — a group of remote Hawaiian islands that cover 84 million acres and are home to 7,000 species of birds, fish and marine mammals, at least a quarter of which are unique to Hawaii.

 

At a White House ceremony, the president was planning to designate the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands — which have been described as "America's Galapagos" and as the most intact tropical marine region under U.S. jurisdiction — the United States' 75th national monument.

 

The decision immediately sets aside 139,000 square miles of largely uninhabited islands, atolls, coral reef colonies and underwater peaks known as seamounts to be managed by federal and state agencies.

 

Conrad Lautenbacher, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which will manage nearly all of it, said the new protected area would dwarf all others.

 

"It's the single-largest act of ocean conservation in history. It's a large milestone," Lautenbacher said. "It is a place to maintain biodiversity and to maintain basically the nurseries of the Pacific. It spawns a lot of the life that permeates the middle of the Pacific Ocean."

 

Conservationists, who have clashed with the Bush administration on most other environmental issues, were just as pleased.

 

"This an unprecedented win for endangered Hawaiian monk seals, green sea turtles, black-footed albatrosses, tiger sharks, the incredible reef corals in these waters, the people of Hawaii and all Americans, now and in generations to come," Elliott Norse, president of the Marine Conservation Biology Institute, said in a statement ahead of the announcement. "It’s the start of a new era of protecting places in the sea before they’re degraded beyond recognition. In my opinion, this is the best thing President Bush has done for the environment."

 

Added Fred Krupp, head of Environmental Defense: "The president is creating the world's largest marine protected area. It's as important as the establishment of Yellowstone" — arguably the crown jewel of the National Park System.

 

The national monument, about the size of California, will be 38 times larger than Yellowstone, and larger even than Australia's Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

 

Roger Rufe, president of The Ocean Conservancy, agreed the area was on par with Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon. "Teddy Roosevelt is largely considered the father of our national park system," he added. With this national monument, "President Bush may be securing a similar legacy in our oceans.â€

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I'll be very inetrested to see if this actually goes ahead, hope to see updates about this... Please keep me informed, I may not be able to access Wetpixel so please email me with more news if you don't mind!

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...In my opinion, this is the best thing President Bush has done for the environment."

 

...and the only one.

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Not trying to get political here, but the only thing Bush did was to accelerate the process and take the credit from previous administrations.

 

The Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge (HINWR) is a National Wildlife Refuge of the United States, comprised of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, with the exception of Midway Atoll and Kure Atoll and was created in 1909 by President Theodore Roosevelt's Executive Order 1019.

 

After that, in 2000 the area was designated as an 'ecosystem reserve' by Clinton. Then, in 2002, a public comment period began on the creation of a National Marine Sanctuary under legislation passed by Congress and signed by Clinton.

 

The Sanctuary was scheduled to come in effect in 2008, but Bush designated the area as a National Monument and now has his name on it. The area was going to be a sanctuary (which provides the same level of protection) regardless of Bush's new designation.

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And in the process complicated life tremendously for legitimate research in the area. Now the area is managed by 3 separate agencies which are supposed to cooperate but the lack of communication, differing agendas, & red tape is incredible.

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I know Leslie likes cracking corals and looking for worms ;), but would we not all agree that the extra two years of protection, however short, is a positive?

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That's the thing, the designation changed (from sanctuary to national monument) but the protection remains exactly the same (they were protected before).

 

Luiz

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That's the thing, the designation changed (from sanctuary to national monument) but the protection remains exactly the same (they were protected before).

 

Luiz

 

Yup. protection is the same. what's changed is the level of involvement by differing state & federal agencies, NGOs, stake holders - which means an exponential increase in bureaucracy & politics!

 

Luckily for coral everywhere, the live stuff doesn't have enough worms living on it to make cracking it worthwhile. ;) I like the dead stuff that's full of holes & nicely covered with sponges & algae.

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