Management Strategy for Habitat Restoration

Management Objectives

Primary Wildlife Habitat Restoration Objectives:

  • Invasive species management
  • Strict biosecurity
  • Native plant propagation & establishment
  • Marine debris removal
  • Ecosystem monitoring

The habitat restoration schedule for a summer season is usually between March and September. And the winter schedule is usually between September and March. There is a lot of potentials to study seabird populations and environmental impacts on Kure; however, during this grant period, the majority of field time and resources will be spent on direct physical or chemical removal of invasive plants, greenhouse propagation, outplanting and broadcasting native seeds as well as measuring the outcome metrics.

In 2012, teams of six to seven people increased the treatment area from 69 acres to 116 acres. In 2013, the treatment area was increased to 133 acres. As of September 2014, all vegetated areas across Green Island (188 acres) were incorporated into a rotating treatment schedule that takes 2 to 3 months to complete. Beginning in September 2017, a crew of 8 has been able to decrease that timeframe down to 4 to 6 weeks. This increase in personnel was implemented to prevent Verbesina, Cenchrus and other invasive species from maturing and adding to the seed bank.

Invasive Plant and Tree Eradication Project

Verbesina encelioides is the State of Hawaiʻi’s top management priority for Kure Atoll Conservancy. It is a monotypic (single species) stand of tall, nearly impenetrable vegetation and, for 55 years, has directly displaced ten seabird species.

Native Plant Restoration Project

Itʻs not enough to pull weeds and leave an area open for non-natives to aggressively colonize an area, one must also fastidiously out plant natives in these areas to gain a foothold prior to the onset of non-natives recruiting in these places. In conjunction with the eradication project, the native plant restoration project promotes the recovery of native plant communities that support seabird nesting.

Dune Restoration and Creation Project

The 20-foot dunes that rim Green Island on the west side are higher and more extensive than any other Northwestern Hawaiian Island dunes.The integrity and function of Kure’s important dune-shrub complex are threatened by invasive plants that out-compete the native dune-stabilizing shrub Scaevola taccada (Naupaka). The main priority for dune creation and stabilization focus directly on sand retention with native grasses and plants. 

Habitat Restoration on the Abandoned USCG Runway Project

The United States Coast Guard LORAN-C Station Kure was constructed in 1960 and used as a radio navigation station from 1961-1993. Today, the Southwest end of the runway is called The Landfill. The Landfill is a main focal point for habitat restoration as a way to rebuild the dunes and encourage black-footed and Laysan albatross to move their nest sites away from the vulnerable beachfront onto the adjacent elevated runway where there is increased protection from storm surge and tsunamis.

Habitat Restoration Posts

Sporobolus pyramidatus

Dropseed Sporobolus is a perennial grass colonizing open areas and hard substrates. There is some die-back of older plants in the winter. It is characterized by broad tapering blades, and a relatively closed seed head on a long stalk. It is abundant on the runway, and common on the roads

Setaria verticillata

Polypogon interruptus

Poa annua