DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES
PETER T. YOUNG, CHAIRPERSON
Phone: (808) 587-0401
Fax: (808) 587-0390
For Immediate Release:
of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR)
The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) appreciates the comprehensive review of DLNR’s Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) made by the Auditor, and has already initiated many of the recommendations.
"The Department is well on its way to taking corrective action to ensure that DOCARE officers can focus on protecting the natural resources of the state," said DLNR Chairperson Peter Young. “Our highest priority is preserving Hawai`i’s environment and natural resources.”
In a proactive effort to enhance enforcement and better utilize DOCARE personnel, DLNR included in their budget proposal nearly $800,000 to hire uniformed on-site security personnel at 22 parks and patrolling harbors across the State.
“This innovative program enhances security of our parks while freeing DOCARE personnel to focus on protecting natural and cultural resources,” said Young.
In addition, DLNR has used grant funds from Hawai`i Tourism Authority, to initiate an experimental "Ranger" program. The presence of these rangers also helps to deter inappropriate behavior and better manage high-use recreational areas for the protection of the resources and the enjoyment and safety of residents and visitors.
DLNR is also effectively using student hires for administrative needs to further free DOCARE personnel from clerical duties and get them into the field.
“DLNR strong believes that one of the best ways to protect our natural habitats and preserve the environment is to focus on prevention. This includes promoting responsible stewardship through education and partnerships,” said Young. “We need everyone to take individual and collective responsibility to protect our resources.”
DLNR has promoted environmental awareness by actively working to make state land available to private operators focused on providing free and/or reduced cost environmental education to Hawai`i's children. These environmental education centers provide the appropriate venue and curriculum to teach Hawai`i's youth the importance of taking responsibility to help protect and preserve Hawai`i’s natural and cultural resources.
In addition, DLNR included $1-million in their proposed budget for the advancement of environmental education across the state.
"Partnerships with the community and other environmental groups are extremely important to DLNR,” said Young. “The Mauka-Makai Watch program is a prime example of the success of partnerships with the community.”
The "Mauka-Makai Watch" is modeled after the nationally successful Neighborhood Watch Program in which community members act as the "eyes and ears" for law enforcement to help deter, identify and report crimes. DLNR partnered with The Nature Conservancy, Community Conservation Network and Hawai`i Wildlife Fund to successfully implement the Makai Watch program.
“We will continue seeking innovative alternatives to preserve Hawai`i’s environment and natural resources for the enjoyment of future generations,” said Young.