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Today, President Obama will announce the expansion of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument off Hawai’i, creating the world’s largest protected area. The expansion of the protected area spans 582,578 square miles of land and water.

Photo credit: National Wildlife Federation

Photo credit: National Wildlife Federation

From the National Wildlife Federation:

The monument now has a bipartisan legacy as it was first created by President George W. Bush ten years ago. The Conservation Council for Hawai’i, state affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation, and its executive director Marjorie Ziegler, have helped lead the campaign for monument expansion.

“We are so proud of our president from Hawai’i, who grew up body surfing and ended up leading our country and protecting hundreds of millions of acres of wild places – more than any other president in our history,” said Ziegler. “Mahalo nui loa, Mr. President, for expanding the Papahãnaumokuãkea Marine National Monument and protecting our ocean. What a wonderful legacy for our kids and generations to come. There is no place on Earth like it.”

At the National Wildlife Federation’s 2016 Annual Meeting, affiliates passed a resolution supporting President Obama using the Antiquities Act to expand the monument.

“This is a conservation legacy of global importance. The President’s decision to expand Papahãnaumokuãkea provides important protections for some of the Pacific’s most iconic and threatened wildlife and preserves habitat and travel routes that will help to ensure their survival. Sea turtles, sharks, whales, tuna, the endangered Hawaiian monk seal and Laysan and Black-footed Albatrosses are just some of the species that will benefit from expansion,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation.