Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument

Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, c.490,000 sq mi (1,260,000 sq km), central Pacific Ocean; est. 2009. The monument comprises the waters and reefs surrounding seven islands and atolls, and in most cases the island lands are managed as wildlife refuges as well. The islands and their waters are the U.S. territories that are furthest from human population centers. Howland Island, Baker Island, and Jarvis Island lie along the equator. Johnston Atoll lies between the Line Islands and Hawaii. Wake Atoll (see Wake Island) is the northernmost atoll in the Marshall Islands geologic ridge. Palmyra Atoll and Kingman Reef are part of the Line Island chain.

The monument, created in 2009 by President George W. Bush, is part of the National Wildlife Refuge System. A 2014 expansion by President Barack Obama roughly sextupled the protected marine areas, and made the monument the world's largest marine reserve. At Howland, Baker, and Jarvis islands, Palmyra Atoll and Kingman Reef, the terrestrial areas, reefs, and waters out to 12 nautical miles (22.2 km) are part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, while at Wake and Johnston atolls, the land areas are controlled by the U.S. Air Force. The monument contains the most widespread collection of coral reef, seabird, and migratory shorebird protected areas under a single nation's jurisdiction. Wildlife includes sea turtles, dolphins, whales, sharks, and other tropical marine life.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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