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Hirono-Led Resolution Commemorating 50th Anniversary of Hanalei and Pearl Harbor National Wildlife Refuges Unanimously Passes in Senate

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate passed a resolution introduced by Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, recognizing the 50th anniversaries of the establishment of Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge on Kauai and Pearl Harbor National Wildlife Refuge on Oahu. The resolution, which passed via unanimous consent, was also cosponsored by Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) and celebrates the two refuges while acknowledging the wonders of Hawaii’s eight other national wildlife refuges (NWR). The resolution also encourages people in Hawaii and across the country to learn about, support, and appreciate these refuges.

“Hawaii’s national wildlife refuges play a crucial role in protecting many endangered species, such as the nene goose and the akoko plant,” said Senator Hirono. “The Hanalei and Pearl Harbor National Wildlife Refuges, along with Hawaii’s eight other NWRs, provide safe, protected spaces for various species, including fish, wildlife, and plants to flourish, while also allowing visitors to learn about different native species and the cultural history of each area. I’m glad the Senate unanimously passed my resolution recognizing the 50th anniversary of these important refuges, and I’ll continue working to support conservation efforts in Hawaii and across the country as we work to protect our environment for generations to come.”

Established more than 100 years ago, the National Wildlife Refuge System aims to protect and conserve local wildlife and native species. Across the U.S., there are more than 560 National Wildlife Refuges, including ten in Hawaii, managed and administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Pearl Harbor National Wildlife Refuge was established on October 17, 1972 to mitigate the environmental impacts of the construction of the Honolulu International Airport Reef Runway. It protects some of the last remaining wetlands on Oahu and is home to threatened and endangered wildlife and plants, such as the Hawaiian stilt and the akoko. The Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge on Kauai was established on November 30, 1972 to aid in the recovery of threatened and endangered species, such as the nene (Hawaiian goose). It consists of 917 acres in Hanalei Valley, and provides an important habitat for a wide array of fish, wildlife, and plants.

The full text of the resolution can be found here.

As a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) Committee, Senator Hirono has championed legislation to protect Hawaii’s environment, fish, wildlife, and plants. In September, she introduced legislation authorizing $55 million in federal funding over the next eleven years to support ongoing efforts to help combat Rapid Ohia Death in Hawaii. This past March, Senator Hirono also introduced a bipartisan resolution designating April 2022 as “National Native Plant Month,” recognizing the importance of native plants to environmental conservation and restoration, as well as in supporting a diversity of wildlife. In April 2021, she also announced that the Kona Soil and Water Conservation District was one of the projects to receive federal funding to boost biodiversity and support wildlife habitats. Earlier that year, Senator Hirono joined the other members of the Hawaii delegation in introducing legislation to assess the potential for Hawaii lands to be declared a national forest.