Prior to 2001, the Natural Resource Division at War in the Pacific NHP had no dedicated full time staff. Because of funding awarded to the NPS through the US Coral Reef Initiative, the park was able to hire its first biologist to oversee coral reef issues at the park. Since that time, the program has expanded to be one of the largest at the park, and currently has two full time, one part-time, and several volunteer staff.
The Natural Resource Division at War in the Pacific NHP is working to protect the park’s unique natural resources, many of which occur no where else in the National Park System. These include tropical savanna grasslands, limestone forests, and Indo-Pacific coral reefs, which are a focal point of their work because most of their funding is derived from the US Coral Reef Initiative.
Currently, staff biologists have focused their efforts on assessing and mitigating sedimentation on the park's nearshore coral reefs. To do this, the park has assembled multi-agency team of scientists and managers to work at the watershed level to determine quantities and sources of sediments on the reef. Once this has been accomplished, the park will move into Phase II of the project: developing and implementing management strategies to reduce sediment loads and, hopefully, to improve coral reef health.
Other ongoing projects at the park include:
1) An assessment of upland erosion rates associated with savanna grassland wildfires.
2) A fisheries study to determine the identity, quantity and fate of harvested fish species, as well as movement patterns of key fishery species into and out of the park.
3) A stream assessment to map and characterize all streams within the park.
4) Development and testing of marine monitoring methods
5) Development of seagrass maps and inventories
6) Development of a Fire Management Plan.
7) An assessment of coral larval recruitment and survival
For more information on these or other Natural Resource projects at the War in the Pacific NHP, contact Dr. Dwayne Minton, Park Ecologist at 671-472-7240 ext. 235.