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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

With the Stoke of a Pen

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Thursday, October 2, 2014/Categories: natural history, wildlife conservation, marine mammals, sustainability, environment

You wouldn't be criticized for missing a development buried among the myriad of other events happening but a major Presidential action just occurred. President Obama, following upon an original effort of President Bush, expanded the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument  west of Hawaii. With the stroke of his pen Mr. Obama use the  Antiquities Act , signed by Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, to increase the protected zone in the marine monument by nearly six times its original size.


Coral Reefs, Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (credit: NOAA/FWS)

According to the White House, the expanded reserve encompassing nearly 500,000 square miles---increased from the original Bush designation of ~90,000 square miles---will protect remote tropical atolls and islands in the western Pacific Ocean. Innumerable species of marine mammals, birds, sharks, coral reefs, and all associated life are now protected from commercial fishing and deep sea mining. The new reserves will allow undisturbed reproduction of fish and other species to help repopulate adjacent areas of the ocean where they have been depleted due to overfishing.

All presidents are very busy people. Mr. Obama's action taking time to protect a marine environment few have heard of or visited and protecting it should be celebrated. Hopefully, the President will find other examples worthy of national monument protection. The Greater Canyonlands National Monument would be a great follow-on designation for the stroke of a pen.

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