Habitat Restoration Program

Background
The State of Hawai‘i, Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) – Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), is committed to restoring native biodiversity and seabird populations on Kure Atoll. Green Island, the atoll’s only permanent island, is the state of Hawai‘i’s most significant seabird sanctuary, with 18 seabird species totaling over 100,000 nesting birds. In 1995, the State successfully eradicated rats from Green Island and created strict biosecurity protocols. After predator removal, some seabird species returned (small petrels) and others increased in population size (ground-nesting boobies and albatrosses). However, the spread of Verbesina encelioides (Golden Crown-beard) and other invasive weeds (Starr et al. 2001) has severely threatened recovery by degrading and displacing seabird nesting habitat on a large scale.

Field camp strategy
The primary activities of Kure Field Camp Ecological Research Station are to eradicate invasive plants, restore native plants, and conduct pest management. Teams of six to seven people increased the treatment area from 69 acres to 116 acres in 2012; 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.

For more information on operations and logistics to deploy field camps, please see [Operation and Logistics].

Management Strategy
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, and measuring the outcome metrics.

Restoration Projects of Kure Field Camps

Habitat Restoration on the Abandoned USCG Runway Project
Dune Stabilization and Creation Project
Fresh Water Seep Creation Project (Coming soon)
Pest Management

Propagating and Outplanting Native Plant Project
Invasive Plant and Tree Eradication Project