Conservation Management

To ensure state personnel and volunteers are working efficiently, management aims to measure each field season’s aim to increase plants that support ground and burrow-nesting seabird habitats. 

Seasonal efforts are documented around annual growth periods and measures 4 designated plots for percentages of Verbesina, other non-native plants, and native plants.

The Kure team randomly selects 2-meter quadrat sites within 4 plots—plots that were heavily-impacted by Verbesina–and assess how many of each plant covers what percentage in each selected quadrat.

Overall analysis conclude the method and effort used between 2013-2018 has been effective at rapidly reducing the percent coverage of invasive weeds. It has also shown an increase in native plant coverage.

Restoration efforts focus on plants which positively impact habitats that also reduces damages that come from storms and climate change.

Invasive Plant and Tree Eradication Project

Native Plant Restoration Project

Dune Restoration and Creation Project

Habitat Restoration on the Abandoned USCG Runway Project

The increase in native plants have also correlated with an increase in seabird nests

Biosecurity

There are a set of protocols–called Best Management Practices (BMPs) –to prevent the introduction of new threatening species to a fragile ecosystem.  It was created by PMNM to mitigate impacts and sustain long-term field camps.

The goal is to provide basic biosecurity protocols for the transportation of vessels, people, and goods between atolls, with special reference to protected areas and islands of high biodiversity value. It also aims at identifying priority species already present and requiring special attention as confirmed or potentially invasive species.

Some key fundamental principles regarding biosecurity

Practice good hygiene at the source (e.g. home or shopping)

Implement effective quarantine practices (e.g. checking, securing, packing & storage at a designated quarantine area)

Summer 2019 Crew at the freezer packing facility is final step prior to loading onto ship for departure

Freeze where necessary

For departure, all gear is then loaded into large containers packed onto shipping vessels that deploy field camps within Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument

Kure field camps are usually deployed alongside other field camps (from NOAA and FWS) with their own respective biosecurity protocols. Creating distinct marks, such as this, help ensure Kure gear does not get lost in the shuffle of deploying camps unto their respective atolls within Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.

Biosecurity protocols are also adhered to while in the field as well. Here is summer 2014 crew bringing their gear to the beach to fumigate and quarantine their gear prior to departure from Kure.

Biosecurity protocols are also implemented after a field season to ensure the use of these buckets for future field camps.

– Prevention is better than cure: preventing colonization is more effective and cheaper than management measures after invasives have become established. Border control and strict abatement measures must be the first line of defense.

– Early detection & rapid reaction: eliminate invaders quickly. When preventive measures fail, locating the invaders before they have a chance to establish and spread is key to their successful eradication.

– A principle of precaution: In cases of uncertainty and insufficient scientific knowledge to accurately assess either the risk of a species becoming invasive or it’s present or future impact, one should assume that impacts will occur and action should be taken to prevent the species from spreading or becoming established.

Attention to detail and vigilance throughout the process is the recipe for success.  

Have in place as many lines of defense as practical

•Stop pests infesting gear destined for islands prior to departure:
•Practice good hygiene at source (e.g.home or supermarket)
•Implement effective quarantine practices – i.e., checking, secure packing & storage at the quarantine store.
•Check on the wharf or other points of departure before leaving – Stop pests reaching islands:
•Practice good hygiene on transport vessels and aircraft – Stop pests establishing themselves on islands:
•Check gear on arrival
•Conduct surveillance to detect pests and maintain detection systems
• Maintain contingency readiness and capability