Thursday, June 17, 2010
Not all the work in maintaining a wildlife refuge is with wildlife. Sometimes the work means removing something that no longer belongs in a refuge.
Before Midway became the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, it was a military post. The military needed huge tanks to store their jet fuel; you can see part of a tank in the upper left corner of this early morning picture. The area around the tank, as well as the cement wall, were lined in a thick, black plastic; you can see some of the plastic in the picture. The purpose of the enclosed area was to keep any accidentally spilled fuel in a contained area.
But the military is no longer here, the fuel tank is empty, and the plastic is not good for the wildlife. Folds in the plastic trap Laysan Ducks, and the albatross chicks can't walk very well on the shiny, slippery plastic.
So, Marty and I helped remove some of the plastic. In the future, the whole cement wall will come down and be used as part of the seawall to protect the island, and the fuel tanks will be taken apart and shipped away. The island is becoming a better and better refuge for wildlife!