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Lehua Island Seabird Sanctuary



Lehua Island is a 284-acre island located three-fourths of a mile off the northern shore of Niihau (a privately owned 46,080-acre island). Lehua is a state-designated seabird sanctuary managed by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and federally owned by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG). Lehua is one of Hawaii’s most important seabird colonies because of its size and height above sea level. It also offers a unique opportunity for restoring an island ecosystem.

DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), in conjunction with federal sponsor United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), technical partner Island Conservation (IC), and the cooperating members of the Lehua Island Restoration Steering Committee (LIRSC) are working together toward the eradication of rats from Lehua Island so further restoration efforts can move forward in the future.

In 2005, DOFAW and the USFWS embarked on a plan to restore Lehua Island. The purpose of the proposed plan is to restore Lehua Island’s ecosystem through completing the eradication of rats, and to ensure restoration success by keeping Lehua rat free. The proposed action could improve seabird nesting habitat and could aid in the recovery of rare endemic seabirds such as Band-rumped Storm Petrels, Hawaiian Petrels, and Newell’s Shearwaters, and native coastal plants and insects.