January 13, 2023

PHOTOS & VIDEO: Hirono Visits Pearl Harbor National Wildlife Refuge in Commemoration of 50th Anniversary

HONOLULU, HI – Today, U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, visited the Pearl Harbor National Wildlife Refuge (PHNWR) on Oahu to see the wetland habitat and plant akulikuli, a type of native coastal ground covering. While there, Senator Hirono also presented a framed copy of a resolution she led recognizing the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the refuge, which unanimously passed the Senate in November.

“The Pearl Harbor National Wildlife Refuge provides a safe home to a number of native and endangered species, which enrich Hawaii’s unique ecosystem and environment,” said Senator Hirono. “Hawaii’s ten wildlife refuges—and hundreds of refuges across the country—serve critical roles in protecting a wide array of threatened fish, wildlife, and plant species. I enjoyed learning more about the PHNWR and seeing the different species that inhabit the wetlands.

I also had the chance to meet three classes of 3rd grade students from Ewa Beach Elementary, who were visiting the refuge and participating in different educational activities with the staff. PHNWR serves as an important resource for more than 4,000 keiki every year, providing them with the opportunity to spend a few hours learning, firsthand, about preservation and exposing them to some of Hawaii’s native plants and wildlife.”

During her visit, Senator Hirono also saw a number of native plant and animal species, as well as the refuge’s wetland habitat for four of Hawaii’s endangered waterbirds. 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.

In addition to celebrating the PHNWR, Senator Hirono’s resolution also recognizes the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge on Kauai and acknowledges the wonders of Hawaii’s eight other national wildlife refuges. It also encourages people to learn about, support, and appreciate refuges in their communities. Established more than 100 years ago, the National Wildlife Refuge System aims to protect and conserve local wildlife and native species.

Senator Hirono added, “I will continue to support the ongoing efforts of our refuges as they educate communities about the importance of conservation and strive to protect our environment for generations to come.”

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. Last month, the House passed the Kaena Point National Heritage Area Act, legislation introduced by Senator Hirono to study designating Kaena Point on Oahu as a National Heritage Area. 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.

Photos and video of the Senator’s visit are available here