DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES
PETER T. YOUNG, CHAIRPERSON
Phone: (808) 587-0401
Fax: (808) 587-0390
For Immediate Release:
New Budget Request Benchmark
The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) has requested in excess of $92-mllion for its 2006-2007 supplemental budget, an increase of more than 50% over fiscal year 2002.
"We take the responsibility of protecting and preserving Hawai`i’s fragile environment and natural resources extremely seriously, and that is why our budget is unprecedented in scope and scale,” said DLNR Chairperson Peter Young.
“Our budget request demonstrates Governor Lingle's support and commitment to implement more programs and initiatives aimed at protecting our natural and cultural resources for the benefit of future generations.”
“DLNR’s budget represents an investment in improving the quality of life for the people of Hawai`i and protection of our precious resources."
Over the past year, DLNR has been forging innovative partnerships and developing volunteer programs to complement DLNR’s ongoing resource protections programs.
These initiatives foster environmental education and compliance with state conservation laws, increasing DLNR's ranks of volunteers serving as stewards of the resources.
One of DLNR's initiatives, which will have an immediate, positive affect on enforcement and safety efforts, is a proposal to hire uniformed security personnel to patrol state parks and harbors across the state.
Uniformed security presence will curtail vandalism, break-ins, loitering and illegal activities. Moreover, it will allow DOCARE enforcement officers to focus and spend more time on natural and cultural resource concerns.
“This program, coupled with our expanding Mauka-Makai Watch and Ranger programs, will add presence to our facilities,” said Young.
“Presence serves as a deterrent to inappropriate behavior, provides assistance to and educates users, allows us to monitor the resources and, ultimately, enhances protection of the resources and makes for a more enjoyable experience by all.”
Another initiative to help DLNR's enforcement division is to reinstitute a prior program of having student helpers conduct dispatch and assist with clerical services.
This will help free DLNR’s uniformed enforcement officers from administrative duties, so they can focus on actively enforcing DLNR laws and rules affecting natural and cultural resources.
DLNR's proposed budget includes an increase of $4.7-million for natural area and watershed protection. In addition, nearly $2-million is added to protect aquatic resources.
Hawai`i's natural area reserves preserve and protect Hawaiian biological ecosystems and geological formations. Within these areas one can find rare plants and animals, many of which are on the edge of extinction. The reserves also protect major watershed areas, which provide vital sources of fresh water.
In addition, DLNR will continue with its multi-year, multi-million-dollar reconstruction and improvement to Parks facilities – the first major reconstruction of parks facilities in 40-years.
"Improvements to State Parks are a priority for DLNR. We want park guests to have enjoyable experiences in our parks,” said Young.
“Last year DLNR initiated a program focusing on cleaning and repairing parks comfort stations. Under our budget proposal, this program will be dramatically expanded. We also want to increase to semi-monthly our initiative of power-washing, chemi-cleaning, steam-cleaning and sanitizing the 85 State Parks comfort stations across the state.”
DLNR's budget request also includes $1-million to support environmental education programs across the state. This will add to the already expanding program of making state land available for private operators to provide environmental education to Hawai`i’s kids.
"These programs are win-win situations for residents, visitors, the department and our resources," added Young. "DLNR provides the land and private operators provide educational programs to thousands of Hawai`i’s young people.”
Additionally, DLNR is requesting $650,000 to work toward fulfillment of the State’s obligation to establish instream flow standards for Hawai`i streams.
Of the 376 perennial streams statewide, DLNR will evaluate the 1,242 stream diversions and will: perform field verification of stream diversions, assess stream characteristics and facilitate the determination of instream flow standards.
$4-million is added to DLNR’s budget for land acquisition so the state may preserve and protect important natural and cultural resources.
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