Per NPR, PBS, and The Washington Post, last week, on 6/15/06, President George W. Bush designated a 1200 nautical mile long Northwestern Hawaiian archipelago of remote atolls, coral reefs, shoals, islands, and sea mounts adjacent to Kauai as the newest and largest ever US marine monument. For details and great pictures of the area, check out the links. As the President himself said, this is "a big deal." The monument covers an area about the size of Montana and is 100 times larger than Yosemite National Park. It may, indeed, be the most extensive preserve ever created. It encompasses 140,000 square miles and is greater in scope than Australia's Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The monument will protect the habitats of over 7000 terrestrial and marine species, more than a quarter of which are located nowhere else on earth. The most recognizable of the newly protected islands is Midway, which played a crucial role in the outcome of World War II.
photo by Linda Wade, NOAA