Midway has no indigenous inhabitants and was uninhabited until the 19th century.  The refuge is now titled as the "Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge and Battle of Midway National Memorial". Four months later, on June 4, 1942, a major naval battle near Midway resulted in the U.S. Navy inflicting a devastating defeat on the Japanese Navy. In 1978, the Navy downgraded Midway from a Naval Air Station to a Naval Air Facility and large numbers of personnel and dependents began leaving the island. Midway Atoll is part of a chain of volcanic islands, atolls, and seamounts extending from Hawaii up to the tip of the Aleutian Islands and known as the Hawaiian–Emperor seamount chain.  It was reported that a 1.5 m (5 ft) high wave completely submerged the atoll's reef inlets and Spit Island, killing more than 110,000 nesting seabirds at the National Wildlife Refuge. The economy is derived solely from governmental sources and tourist fees. A number of invasive exotics have been introduced; for example, ironwood trees from Australia were planted to act as windbreaks.  Unlike the other Hawaiian islands, Midway observes Samoa Time (UTC−11:00, i.e., eleven hours behind Coordinated Universal Time), which is one hour behind the time in the state of Hawaii.  This program operated through 2012, but was suspended for 2013 due to budget cuts.. , Midway Atoll, in common with all the Hawaiian Islands, receives substantial amounts of marine debris from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Beginning in 1940, as tensions with the Japanese rose, Midway was deemed second only to Pearl Harbor in importance to the protection of the U.S. West Coast. Midway was a convenient refueling stop on transpacific flights, and was also an important stop for Navy ships. Midway Atoll forms part of the Northwest Hawaiian Islands Important Bird Area (IBA), designated as such by BirdLife International because of its seabirds and endemic landbirds. BACKGROUND The endangered Laysan duck (or Laysan teal) Anas laysanensis is an endemic Hawaiian dabbling duck. The islands were named the "Middlebrook Islands" or the "Brook Islands". Learn More. The Midway Islands or Midway Atoll  is a wildlife refuge in the north Pacific Ocean, roughly \"midway\" between California and East Asia, just east of the International Date Line. Only the very wealthy could afford the trip, which in the 1930s cost more than three times the annual salary of an average American. Midway Atoll is an unorganized, unincorporated territory of the United States. In 1903, workers for the Commercial Pacific Cable Company took up residence on the island as part of the effort to lay a trans-Pacific telegraph cable. Starting in 1869 with the project to blast the reefs and create a port on Sand Island, the environment of Midway atoll has experienced profound changes. Fish & Wildlife Service — Marine Debris: Cigarette Lighters and the Plastic Problem on Midway Atoll", "Marine plastic debris emits a keystone infochemical for olfactory foraging seabirds", https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol01_Ch0001-0042F/04-ADM/ADM-.htm, U.S. Bikini Atoll (/ ˈ b ɪ k ɪ ˌ n iː / or / b ɪ ˈ k iː n i /; Marshallese: 'Pikinni', [pʲiɡinnʲi], meaning "coconut place"), sometimes known as Eschscholtz Atoll between the 1800s and 1946 (see Etymology section below for history and orthography of the endonym), is a coral reef in the Marshall Islands consisting of 23 islands surrounding a 229.4-square-mile (594.1 km 2) central lagoon. Major sources and definitions Fish & Wildlife Service — Birds of Midway Atoll", "U.S. In 2012, the last year that the visitor program was in operation, 332 people made the trip to Midway. The facility became operational in 1968 and was commissioned January 13, 1969. Recent efforts have focused on removing non-native plant species and re-planting native species. Four months later, on June 4, 1942, a major naval battle near Midway resulted in the U.S. Navy inflicting a devastating defeat on the Japanese Navy.  The National Monument is managed by the U.S. The proclamation established "Midway Island Naval Defensive Sea Area", which encompassed the territorial waters between the extreme high-water marks and the three-mile (4.8 km) marine boundaries surrounding Midway. The islands of Midway Atoll have been extensively altered as a result of human habitation. In early 2000, Aloha began scheduled 737 passenger service between Midway Island and Honolulu. Between 1904 and 1908, President Roosevelt stationed 21 Marines on the island to end wanton destruction of bird life and keep Midway safe as a U.S. possession, protecting the cable station. Thousands of troops on ships and aircraft stopped at Midway for refueling and emergency repairs. , A U.S. Geological Survey study found that the Midway Atoll, Laysan, and Pacific islands like them could become inundated and unfit to live on during the 21st century, due to increased storm waves and rising sea levels..  Approximately one-third of the chicks die. , Of the 1.5 million Laysan Albatrosses that inhabit Midway, nearly all are found to have plastic in their digestive system. From August 1, 1941, to 1945, it was occupied by U.S. military forces. Consisting of 90 percent plastic, this debris accumulates on the beaches of Midway. Nearly three million birds nest on Midway, including Bonin Petrels, endangered Laysan Ducks, and the largest population of albatross on the planet. Starting in July 1942, a submarine tender was always stationed at the atoll to support submarines patrolling Japanese waters.  This program ended in 2002, but another visitor program was approved and began operating in March 2008.  These deaths are attributed to the albatrosses confusing brightly colored plastic with marine animals (such as squid and fish) for food. From 1968 to September 10, 1993, Midway Island was a Naval Air Facility. As part of the Base Realignment and Closure process, the Navy facility on Midway has been operationally closed since September 10, 1993, although the Navy assumed responsibility for cleaning up environmental contamination. It consists of a ring-shaped barrier reef nearly five miles (8.0 km) in diameter and several sand islets. The location of Midway in the Pacific became important militarily.  Tours focused on both the unique ecology of Midway as well as its military history. The purpose was to establish a mid-ocean coaling station to avoid the high taxes imposed at ports controlled by the Kingdom of Hawaii. The atoll was the first Pacific island annexed by the United States, as the Unincorporated Territory of Midway Island, and was administered by the United States Navy. All buildings have been removed from Eastern Island, and many buildings on Sand Island no longer exist. As its name suggests, Midway is roughly equidistant between North America and Asia, and lies almost halfway around the world longitudinally from Greenwich, UK. Although the FWS closed all airport operations on November 22, 2004, public access to the island was restored from March 2008.. In 1944, a floating dry dock joined the tender. Midway was a convenient refueling stop on transpacific flights, and was also an important stop for Navy ships. The country is 93,638 square miles in size and has a population of close to 62.5 million. 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