Huge Beach Party Busted By DLNR

Late Sunday night and into the wee hours of Memorial Day, officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement and the Honolulu Police Department worked to clear an estimated 200 people from a beach at the Mokuleia Section of Ka‘ena Point State Park on O‘ahu’s North Shore. Witnesses report the crowd was even bigger earlier in the evening.


When officers arrived at 10:30 p.m., they say before losing count, they recorded 170 cars. Three DOCARE officers, joined by five HPD officers, spent the next 4 ½ hours directing partiers to clean up their messes and to leave the area. A DLNR Division of State Parks employee captured photos before and after the party and said this morning the area was left, “spotless.”


That was not the case after large gatherings on Friday and Saturday nights. Saturday morning DOCARE officers cleaned up trash and pallets used to fuel giant bon fires the night before. Open fires on Hawai‘i beaches are illegal. Participants were also in violation of COVID-19 Emergency Rules, as well as not having permits for large gatherings in a state park. Saturday and Sunday night’s parties were promoted on social media.


Last night, due to the size of the crowd and the small law enforcement contingent, the goal was to disperse the crowd and get their messes cleaned up. Officers report that most people were compliant, but there were a couple of “knuckleheads,” who wanted to argue and push their luck. No citations were issued, however.

On the other side of Ka‘ena Point State Park, DOCARE officers report the Keawaula and Makua Sections were also packed by beach goers and park users. Many Illegal camping issues were addressed. 


DOCARE Chief Jason Redulla said, “This is exactly the kind of bad and selfish behavior we’ve all been asked repeatedly not to engage in during this emergency. It’s unfortunate, that at least in the case of the Sunday night party, from our officer’s contact and observations of those involved, many were off duty military personnel. This is a day when we remember the sacrifices of the men and women who’ve given their lives in defense of our country and its disappointing that the urge to socialize and party, at this particular time, overrides any obligation to duty and common sense.”

Nearly Eleven Tons of Rubbish Removed From Kalalau in 2017

Since the first of this year, DLNR Division of State Parks maintenance staff on Kaua‘i have gathered, bagged, and airlifted 10.92 tons of rubbish from the Kalalau section of the Napali Coast State Wilderness Park.  At least monthly, regular clean-up operations, have resulted in between 520 pounds and 2380 pounds of trash and waste being airlifted by helicopter out of the area. During some months maintenance crews conducted two-to-four operations.

“Clearly this huge quantity of rubbish was not carried in on the backs of people who obtained permits to hike the 11 miles into Kalalau,” said State Parks Administrator Curt Cottrell. “Over the past two years we’ve made significant progress in dismantling illegal, long-term camps both at Kalalau beach and in more remote locations in Kalalau Valley. In collaboration with the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE), we’ve made it very clear that we have zero tolerance for illegal activity in our state’s largest and most remote state park,” Cottrell added.

In June alone, during five clean-up days, helicopters sling-loaded nearly seven thousand pounds of trash and waste out of Kalalau. Human waste is shoveled into barrels out of composting toilets in the designated camping area fronting Kalalau beach and flown out for proper treatment and disposal.  State Park staff continues to be concerned about environmental degradation and health risks associated with people defecating in the forest and along the streams in the park and the associated impacts to archeological sites from being modified for camping uses.   “These are the critical reasons diligent attention must be directed to eliminating illegal activity at Kalalau and elsewhere in the Napali Coast State Wilderness Park.  As an example, by enforcing the limit of campers to the allowed 60 people each night, the composters should function as designed and our maintenance crew can turn their priorities to other site enhancements,” Cottrell said.

Regular monthly maintenance operations are conducted not only to clean-up the rubbish left at illegal camps and to remove human waste, but also to trim weeds, maintain signs and camp trails, and restock comfort stations.  The Division of State Parks plans to renew its request to the Hawai‘i State Legislature next year for permanent staffing at Kalalau to ensure higher quality of maintenance of the park’s wilderness character, protect cultural sites and to provide visitor information, as well as to maintain communications capability in case of emergencies and to report illegal activities to enforcement.

Lava Flow Estimated to Cross Highway 130 in Two Weeks

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs and Department of Land and Natural Resources announce the immediate closure of Wao Kele o Puna Forest Reserve, until further notice, due to the hazards associated with the June 27 lava flow. Wao Kele o Puna is owned by OHA and managed by DLNR.

I would hardly call it a crime scene!

I would hardly call it a crime scene!

Kamana‘opono Crabbe, Ka Pouhana, OHA (Chief Executive Officer) said, “It is prudent at this time to close Wao Kele o Puna due to lava activity and subsequent unsafe conditions.

William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR Chairperson said, “We join with Hawaii Civil Defense and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to warn the public of extreme danger from lava flowing through cracks in Wao Kele O Puna, and Kahauale’a Natural Area Reserve. Both areas are off-limits to all persons. We will prosecute anyone entering these areas for any purpose, including unauthorized lava sightseeing tours. Hikers have been lost or injured in these areas, and personnel called in to rescue them have also been put in danger.”

The Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) will be assisting Hawaii County to build the alternate roads in Puna.

Lava is estimated to cross Highway 130 in approximately two weeks if it stays on its current path.

DOFAW will provide a D8 bulldozer and equipment operator to Nanawale/Railroad Ave. tomorrow and expect work will take several weeks. Portions of the old railroad right-of-way run through state forest and unencumbered lands. Railroad Ave. bisects Nanawale state Forest Reserve

Repairs To Kailua-Kona Pier, Keauhou Harbor Begin – FEMA, State Share Cost of Tsunami Damages

The Department of Land and Natural Resources began two repair projects addressing tsunami damage at its West Hawaii boating facilities, starting May 27 at Kailua-Kona Pier and June 9 at Keauhou Small Boat Harbor. Both projects are expected to be completed by the end of 2014.

DLNR Begins Repairs To Kailua-Kona Pier, Keauhou Harbor FEMA, state share cost of addressing tsunami damages

DLNR Begins Repairs To Kailua-Kona Pier, Keauhou Harbor FEMA, state share cost of addressing tsunami damages

Funds for the estimated cost of tsunami damage repairs were appropriated by the 2011 State Legislature. FEMA will reimburse costs for up to 75 percent.

Work planned for the Kailua-Kona Pier will include paving of the entire hardtop or pier area, repair of the pump out station at the southwestern end of the pier, repair of the western and eastern revetment walls, and repair of the old U.S. Coast Guard office, which will be used for DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation staff upon completion. The launch ramp will need to be closed for two days during repair of the bottom or “toe” of the ramp. Ramp permittees who will be affected will be directly notified of the ramp closure.

Specific areas of the pier will be blocked off during the construction process using water-filled jersey barriers. Contractor Drayko Construction will begin work on the southwestern portion of pier and work its way toward the entry gate. The public is advised to use caution while in the pier area. Project cost is $1,626,000.

Work at Keauhou Small Boat Harbor will include repair of the bulkhead on the northern side of the bay, paving on a portion of the state property on the northern side parking lot, repair of the makai loading dock at the launch ramp area (the mauka side will remain open during construction), and repainting the interior of the comfort station.

The boat launch ramp and wash down area will need to be closed while it is being re-paved. This work is expected to completed by July 31, 2014. Project cost is $428,000.

USDA Presents National Honor to DLNR Specialist for Forestry Conservation

The US Department of Agriculture’s prestigious Two Chiefs’ Award was presented today to M. Irene Sprecher of Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Left to right is William Aila; Christine Clarke, Acting Director for the Natural Resources Conservation Service in the Pacific Islands Area; M. Irene Sprecher, award recipient; Diane Ley, Executive Director for the Farm Service Agency; and Randy Moore, Pacific Southwest Regional Forester from the US Forest Service.  Photo by Jolene Lau, NRCS.

Left to right is William Aila; Christine Clarke, Acting Director for the Natural Resources Conservation Service in the Pacific Islands Area; M. Irene Sprecher, award recipient; Diane Ley, Executive Director for the Farm Service Agency; and Randy Moore, Pacific Southwest Regional Forester from the US Forest Service. Photo by Jolene Lau, NRCS.

The Two Chiefs’ Award is a national award that is presented annually to recognize people and teams that work collaboratively to support conservation and forest stewardship.  Award winners are selected by the Chiefs of the USDA Forest Service (USFS) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

Ms. Sprecher played a lead role in the development of the “Collaboration on Forestry Related Program Delivery in Hawaii” Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the USDA NRCS, the US Forest Service, the Hawaii Association of Conservation Districts and the State’s Department of Land and Natural Resources – signed May 19, 2011.  This MOU was derived from the National MOU that is used for the same purpose and was signed September 29, 2008.

Since the implementation of the Hawaii MOU, the partners have significantly improved their communication and interaction with each other, and cooperated to coordinate the delivery of several Landowner Assistance Programs in Hawai’i (see  for more information).

Through this MOU, a landowner who obtains an approved Forest Stewardship Program management plan may access multiple programs for forestry conservation assistance – Forest Stewardship Program, the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) and/or the NRCS Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP).  This has significantly streamlined the process for landowners to access assistance funding, while simultaneously improved the collaboration among agencies and efficiency of their programs.

While this MOU is in place at the national level, not all states have implemented a state-level process, and most of those that have received some financial support to make it happen. Hawai’i has accomplished all of this with no extra funding provided by or given to any of its MOU partners.  The MOU partners are involving existing staff only and are motivated simply to improve all aspects of private landowner assistance in Hawaii through increased cooperation.

Also, through a grant written by Ms. Sprecher, the Hawaii MOU partners were awarded $250,000 in January 2013 from a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant.  These funds will provide needed resources for statewide planning and outreach to private forest landowners.  Two full time staff were hired in August, 2013, to increase the number of CREP projects, complete more NRCS Conservation Plans, strengthen interactions with partner agencies, and generally support sustainable management of Hawaii’s forest resources.

Finally, Ms. Sprecher was instrumental in the Fiscal Year 2007 and 2008 Kealakekua Heritage Ranch Forest Legacy applications for the acquisition of two conservation easements.   She was also the primary author for the Fiscal Year 2010 Kainalu Ranch and the Fiscal Year 2012 Kukaiau Koa Forest applications to the Forest Legacy Program. She was recently promoted, as well, and now runs the FSP and FLP programs in Hawaii.

Ms. Sprecher was a major contributor towards the establishment of the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (see factsheet, attached) in Hawaii.  That process required extensive collaboration and negotiation with national and local partners in order to customize the program to best serve Hawaii, and to obtain all the required approvals. In addition, she has been very cooperative in modifying the Hawaii Forest Stewardship Program (supported via State and USFS funding) to come into alignment with the conservation practices, technical specifications and cost share rates associated with NRCS’s EQIP.  Similarly to the Forest Stewardship Program’s management plans, this has made various Federal and State forestry conservation assistance programs work in parallel, with a consistent look and process for our prospective cooperators.

“We are very pleased to jointly present this award,” said Randy Moore, U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Regional Forester.  “This really illustrates our all-lands approach in working across boundaries to optimize our efforts.  This hard work which continues today is vital to the health of our island’s forests in Hawaii and beyond.”

“I am so happy to recognize her and this multi-agency public-private approach to solving a critical resource problem on our forest lands,” said NRCS Acting Director Christine Clarke. “This work exemplifies good stewardship.”

“Ms. Sprecher has proven to be an extremely valuable partner for the USDA as part of our Hawaii Joint Forestry MOU. She worked very closely with NRCS to get forestry conservation projects on the ground and information out to potential clients. She’s collaborated with Ms. Katie Friday, of USFS, to get funding out for Forest Stewardship Plans. She is very worthy of this award for her contributions to USFS and NRCS here in Hawaii,” Clarke said.

DLNR Holding Hearings Statewide to Ammend Hawaii Rules Relating to Stony Coral and Live Rock

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) will hold statewide public hearings to amend Hawaii Administrative Rules (HAR) relating to stony coral and live rock.

Stony Coral

The proposed amendments would clarify what activities constitute “damage” to stony coral and live rock, and establish a formula for calculating administrative penalties for such violations.

The hearings are scheduled as follows:

  • Dec. 10, 2013, in Lanai City at the Senior Center, 309 7th Street, 1:00-3:00 p.m.
  • Dec. 10, 2013, in Kailua-Kona at Kealakehe High School Cafeteria, 74-5000 Puohulihuli Street, 6:00-9:00 p.m.
  • Dec. 10, 2013, in Honolulu at Stevenson Middle School Cafeteria, 1202 Prospect Street, 6:00-9:00 p.m.
  • Dec. 11, 2013, in Hilo at Aupuni Center Conference Room, 101 Pauahi Street, Suite 101, 6:00-9:00 p.m.
  • Dec. 11, 2013, in Lihue at Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School Auditorium, 4431 Nuhou Street, 6:00-9:00 p.m.
  • Dec. 11, 2013, in Kauanakakai at Mitchell Pauole Center Conference Room, 90 Ainoa Street, 1:00-3:00 p.m.
  • Dec. 12, 2013, in Kahului at Maui Waena Intermediate School Cafeteria, 795 Onehee Avenue, 5:30-8:00 p.m.

All interested persons are urged to attend a public hearing to present relevant information and individual opinion for the DLNR to consider. Persons unable to attend or wishing to present additional comments may mail written testimony by Friday, Dec. 27, to the Division of Aquatic Resources, 1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 330, Honolulu, HI 96813.

Anyone with a hearing impairment who desires to attend the public hearing may request assistance of a sign language interpreter. The request may be made in writing (to the DAR address in the preceding paragraph), or by calling 587-0100 (voice or TDD) in Honolulu. The request will need to be received at least seven days before the hearing is scheduled to start. Additional information or a copy of the proposed rules will be mailed at no charge upon receipt of verbal or written request to the DAR address or may be obtained by clicking on the link below.

Stony coral and live rock draft rules

In connection with the public hearings on Lanai and Molokai, Division of Aquatic Resources staff will be available to offer issue new or renew Commercial Fishing Licenses and to register lay nets:

Lanai – Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 10:30 a.m., at Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement office, 917 Fraser Avenue, Lanai City

Molokai – Wednesday Dec. 11 at10:30 Mitchell Pauole Center, Kaunakakai Gym conference room, 90 Ainoa Street, Kaunakakai

For further information, contact the Maui office of Division of Aquatic Resources at 243-5294.

DLNR Celebrates A New Christmas Tradition To Protect Hawai‘i’s Rarest Birds

A new Christmas tradition is taking place in remote forests above Hilo. Early in the morning, volunteers scan the trees, looking for jewels far more beautiful than any Christmas ornament. These volunteers are on a quest to find Hawai‘i’s rarest native birds. The forests of Kulani are part of the Pu‘u Maka‘ala Natural Area Reserve (NAR) managed by the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW).

Volunteers at Kulani Volunteers at Kulani Photo Courtesy: Div. of Forestry and Wildlife

Volunteers at Kulani
Photo Courtesy: Div. of Forestry and Wildlife

On Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013, the DLNR Natural Area Reserves System (NARS), the Three Mountain Alliance (TMA), and the Hawai‘i Audubon Society and community volunteers will search through the forest and count native birds in an annual survey of the forest.

The objective of the count is to collect bird population data from which researchers, conservation biologists, and other interested parties may study the long-term status of bird populations. It provides a picture of how bird populations have changed in time and space over time.

Volunteers and birders may see ‘ōma‘o, ‘i‘iwi, nēnē, ‘elepaio, ‘apapane, ‘akiapōlā‘au, ‘amakihi, ‘akepa, ‘io and Hawai‘i Creeper.

Akiapolaau Photo Credit: UH Ecology Evolution Conservation Biology Dept.

Photo Credit: UH Ecology Evolution Conservation Biology Dept.

This is the fifth year that Christmas Bird Counts will be held in Kulani and the 114th since the Audubon Society started this family tradition nationally. Volunteers will be paired with expert bird watchers to record all sightings or sounds of the birds.

BOX: All volunteer slots have been filled, but to put your name on a wait list or for more information contact Anya Tagawa at or call (808) 443-4245.

“The Pu‘u Maka‘ala Natural Area Reserve at Kūlani is one of the last refuges for Hawai‘i’s native birds. This free event gives the community a rare chance to see these beautiful species,” said Anya Tagawa, NARS education coordinator.

One of the native birds viewable at the Pu‘u Maka‘ala NAR is the endangered ‘Akiapōlā‘au, a Hawaiian Honeycreeper only found on the Big Island. This bright yellow bird has evolved to fill the role occupied by woodpeckers in many other parts of the world. It creeps along trunks and branches tapping holes in the rotten bark with its lower beak and extracts grubs and other insects with its sharply curved upper beak.

“The annual Christmas bird count is a great opportunity for the community to experience what makes Hawai‘i so unique,” said Lisa Hadway, branch manager of Hawai‘i Island DOFAW. “Our goal is to foster a better understanding of our native species and places we are so privileged to protect.”

Amakihi Photo Courtesy Div. of Forestry and Wildlife

Photo Courtesy Div. of Forestry and Wildlife

More than half of Hawai‘i’s native forest has been lost, leaving little habitat left for these birds. In turn, more than half of Hawai‘i’s forest bird species have gone extinct, and almost all populations are declining.

“These surveys help us keep track of how the various populations are doing, and where they remain,” said Hadway. “Then, the DLNR can focus its efforts to where they protect forests from invasive species.”

In addition to saving native species, forest protection secures Hawai‘i’s water supplies. Hawai‘i’s native forests collect rain and fog, providing water for human use. Forests also prevent erosion that muddies beaches and reefs.


Hawaii State Critical of TV Program Misrepresenting Hunting in Hawaii – Investigation Launched Into Possible Law Violations While Filming

In response to The History Channel’s new series “American Jungle,” the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), as well as representatives of hunting, animal protection and film agencies in Hawaii, find the series’ depiction of hunting activities on the Island of Hawaii to be inaccurate, offensive, and in some cases, potentially illegal.


The DLNR Division of Conservation Resource Enforcement (DOCARE) is currently conducting an investigation into whether several of DLNR’s rules and regulations may have been broken during the filming of the program. Activities such as night hunting both on public and private land, are illegal under Hawaii Revised Statues §183D-27 and Hawaii Administrative Rules §13-123-6. The Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), which oversees DLNR’s hunting program, denied a permit request last spring for the production to film on state forest lands.

The series depicts “clans” that are fighting over access trails to territorial hunting grounds that inaccurately portray restrictive access to Hawaii’s public lands, which are held in public trust for the people. Though the filming may have occurred on private land, the maps depicted in the show clearly demark areas that are under DLNR’s jurisdiction. Comments received by DLNR staff from U.S. Mainland viewers have already made it clear that the program gives a warped interpretation of Hawaii’s hunting program.

“DLNR enforces hunting rules in the interests of public and hunter safety, established game management practices and to provide a recreational and sustainable sporting tradition. We denied the film permit request because it failed to provide sufficient details to indicate the show’s content, and raised concerns as to possible illegal activities that might be depicted in the series,” stated DLNR Chairperson William Aila.

Additionally, the cultural insensitivity of the series is also a concern to DLNR. In the first episode of “American Jungle,” spears and dogs were used to hunt a cow. However, in an archival review of more than 60,000 historical documents, there is no evidence that native Hawaiians hunted pigs in the forest with spears, let alone cattle. Further, cattle are not recognized as game animals in Hawaii and are illegal to hunt without a special feral cattle control permit issued by DLNR under §13-123-12.

The Hawaii County Game Management Advisory Commission also expressed its discontent: “GMAC is very disappointed in the History Chanel’s new series, ‘American Jungle.’ The show’s content does not in any way portray the views or actions of the Big Island hunters or residents,” said Willie-Joe Camara, GMAC District 1 commissioner. “As you know, the people of the Big Island, as well as the entire state of Hawaii, take pride in helping our neighbors and showing our visitors our “Aloha” way of life. So far ‘American Jungle’’ has done nothing to show that.”

“Hunting serves important historical, cultural and practical roles in Hawaii,” said Gov. Neil Abercrombie. “When guided by lawful and ethical hunting practices, hunting supports worthy conservation objectives in protection of native species and habitats against invasive and destructive elements. Portraying our local hunters as primitives demeans our people and their contributions to subsistence and wildlife conservation. This appears to be a fictional ‘reality’ production with no connection to actual hunters in Hawaii. If we discover any laws or regulations have been broken we will vigorously pursue legal and/or criminal charges.”

“The methods depicted violate core fair and ethical hunting principles, including preventing prolonged and unnecessary animal suffering.” Inga Gibson, Hawaii director of the Humane Society of the United States.

The film industry provides guidelines for the proper care of animals during production. Concerns regarding the ethical treatment of animals and whether some of the scenes were “staged” have also been raised.

“By their very nature, so-called reality television programs are difficult to control, given their unscripted, fast-paced style,” said Donne Dawson, manager of the Hawaii Film Office.

“But they are exactly why we have a well-established film permitting process in place. Our state film permits are the only way we can help productions get what they need safely, while at the same time protecting our natural and cultural resources and providing the necessary liability insurance.”

“The Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement is alarmed by the hunting practices depicted in the American Jungle series,” said Randy Awo, DOCARE chief. “All persons involved in verifiable hunting activities that are contrary to the laws, rules and regulations established to ensure safe and responsible hunting practices in the state of Hawaii, may be subject to criminal prosecution or DLNR administrative hearings.”

DLNR and the Humane Society of the United States offer a reward of up to $5,000 for any violations of state conservation laws. To report violations, call 1-855-DLNR-TIP.

DLNR Presence Planned Over Labor Day Weekend

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is reminding the public it will be enforcing all state rules this Labor Day weekend in state harbors, parks, beaches and marine waters in the interest of public safety and to protect natural and cultural resources.

In addition, officers will be conducting both land and waterborne enforcement operations at Heeia Small Boat Harbor and Ahu O Laka in Kaneohe Bay. As part of their normal duties, officers will be boarding vessels on a random basis to verify current registration and compliance with carriage requirements and all state rules. Vessels going out more than one mile from shore must be equipped with an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) or VHF radio, and any child under age 13 MUST wear a properly fitting U.S. Coast Guard-approved PFD while the vessel is underway or anchored offshore. These laws are designed to protect all ocean users. Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation staff will be present at Heeia Small Boat Harbor over the weekend, monitoring the launch ramp and parking lot areas.

Sandbar Party

Officers will also be addressing activities that could affect public health and safety at the Kaneohe Bay Sandbar. The new safety zone state boating rule enacted last year prohibits the possession, use or consumption of alcohol; loud, abusive or disorderly conduct; and the presence of persons under the influence of alcohol, narcotics or non-prescription drugs in an area designated as the Ahu o Laka safety zone (also known as the Kaneohe Sandbar) in Kaneohe Bay.

Violators may be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $1,000 or less than $50 for each violation, in addition to administrative fines, fees, costs and damages. Persons cited will be processed administratively at a public meeting before the Land Board. Persons wishing to contest the infraction(s) may request a contested case hearing.

Here are some helpful reminders to encourage compliance with rules for public health and safety and to protect natural and cultural resources:

Holiday weekends mean more boats, as well as fishers, divers, paddlers and surfers in nearshore waters. For safety, have someone act as a lookout for diver and dive flags, other vessels, obstructions in the water and other hazards to navigation.

All boats, personal water craft and kayaks are required by federal and state laws to be equipped with approved operational safety equipment. Rules and regulations established by DLNR and the U.S. Coast Guard also prohibit vessel overloading, and boating under the influence of intoxicants.

Boats should have a designated non-drinking driver because the effects of alcohol are greatly amplified by the sun and dehydration. Boating under the influence is prohibited under state law.
Every boat owner should inspect their vessel to make sure it is in good working condition and prevent problems while on the water,

Take a boating safety course. It can save your life. For more information go to

Divers are required by law (HAR 13-245-9) to use a diver’s flag when diving or swimming underwater in navigable waters and may surface no more than 100 feet from their dive flag (50 feet in a navigable stream).

A 12-inch square dive flag may be attached to a float or mounted on the highest point of a vessel up to 16 feet in length and visible from all directions. Vessels over 16 feet must display a 20”x24” flag along with a blue and white alpha flag mounted at the highest point of the vessel and visible from all directions.

Vessels are prohibited from approaching within 100 feet of a displayed diver’s flag (50 feet in a navigable stream) unless conducting SCUBA, snorkeling, or free-diving activities. These vessels may approach within the restricted area at a speed of slow-no-wake. Violations of HAR13-245-9 are subject to imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

Park rules are designed to help users have an enjoyable visit while protecting the cultural and natural resources. Always observe and adhere to posted signs in the parks. In addition, you can help us by observing the following rules.
Where not prohibited, build fires in the fireplaces and grills provided. Portable stoves or warming devices may be used in designated camping and picnicking areas unless otherwise prohibited. Dump live coals only in designated ash pits or receptacles. Do not dump hot coals on the beach or bury in sand. They keep their heat a very long time and can badly burn anyone that might accidentally step into the coals.

GENERATORS: Operation or use of any portable electric generator is prohibited, except with a special use permit.
Pets and other animals are prohibited wherever posted, and are not allowed in restaurants, pavilions, swimming areas, campgrounds, lodges, or on beaches, and at Kaena Point State Park. Where permitted, pets are to be crated, caged, on a 6-foot or shorter leash or otherwise under physical restrictive control at all times. Please clean up after your pet. For more information, go to


DLNR Announces Resignation of State Historic Preservation Division Administrator

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) today announced the resignation of State Historic Preservation Division (SHPD) administrator Pua Aiu. The announcement follows the release last Thursday of a report by the National Parks Service (NPS) that was critical of the division’s efforts under a two-year corrective action plan to address operational problems that jeopardize continued federal funding from NPS. Aiu has been the SHPD administrator for five years.

Pua Aiu

Pua Aiu

“We believe that SHPD has made progress in a number of areas, including hiring of qualified staff and addressing a backlog of review and compliance tasks,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR Chairperson. “However, we take this report seriously, and given the importance of SHPD to the state, we need to change the leadership in order to move forward to implement the recommendations. So we’ve accepted Pua’s resignation, and are working on a process to select a new administrator in the next three months.”

“The State Historic Preservation Division is important to the preservation and protection of historic and cultural sites of Hawaii. It also plays a significant role in the state’s economy. Addressing and balancing these complex issues is the job of the SHPD administrator and staff,” said Aila. “We plan to bring in an interim administrator by the end of July, and at the same time set up a selection committee to review applications and interview candidates. We invite qualified applicants to submit their resumes to the Chairperson at”


DLNR, NOAA Request Assistance From Boaters To Report Dead Floating Whales

To Report Dead Floating Whales Notify USCG channel 16 or NOAA Marine Mammal Hotline at: 1-888-256-9840

Each year, approximately one to four sperm whale carcasses drift ashore in Hawaii, particularly in May and August. The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) are asking boaters to notify authorities immediately if they see a dead whale floating at sea.

This whale washed up on the Puna Coastline last year.

This whale washed up on the Puna Coastline last year.

Data also suggests they are coming in to Hawaiian waters from east and north directions, which results in most carcasses landing on the windward side of islands.

“Early reporting allows us to locate, then tow a floating carcass away from the islands,” said David Schofield, NOAA’s Regional Marine Mammal Health and Response Program manager.  “This is often much easier and less expensive than removing it once it comes aground on a shoreline or reef.”

“It is critical that we do our best to keep these whales out at sea to avoid attracting large tiger sharks close to shore,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR chairperson.

“Fishing is also good around these carcasses, and by notifying DLNR and NOAA early we can take the necessary steps to tow the carcass back out to sea, which can extend these opportunities and benefit public safety,” added Aila.

“We know that sperm whales are the deepest diving and one of the largest ranging of all cetaceans, but we still don’t know why we see these stranding peaks in the summer,” said Schofield.  “It could have something to do with migration patterns, but scientists still have a lot to learn.”

“Although summer is peak season for sperm whale carcasses, other large whale carcasses, like humpbacks, make their way to shore throughout the year,” added Aila.

To report a floating whale or any marine mammal incident, call USCG channel 16 or the NOAA marine mammal hotline at: 1-888-256-9840.

MacKenzie State Park Only Open to Walk-In Access Next Week

From Monday, April 8 to Friday, April 12, 2013, the DLNR will close the entry road to MacKenzie State Park for road repairs and improvements. While the roadway will be closed to vehicular traffic, walk-in access will be provided to park users during this period.

Old sign at the State Park courtesy of Hunter Bishop's Old Blog

Old sign at the State Park courtesy of Hunter Bishop’s Old Blog

The roadway repairs are part of ongoing improvements at the park that began early this year. The project is expected to be completed by June 2013 or sooner as conditions allow. This park section will be open and appropriate safety measures will be implemented.

Other improvements include a new composting comfort station and parking area near the camping sites and other park clean-up and repair work.

“We appreciate the patience and understanding of everyone using the park during this improvement project, which will enhance the park experience for the public and provides needed maintenance as part of proper stewardship of state lands,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR chairperson.

The contractor is Kona Kau Construction Services and Supplies, and the project cost is approximately $700,000.

MacKenzie State Recreation Area, covering 13.1 acres, is located on Kalapana-Kapono Beach Road (Highway 137), 9 miles northeast of Kaimu. It is a low-cliffed, wild volcanic coastline with picnicking and tent camping in an ironwood grove and known for good shore fishing. An old Hawaiian coastal trail traverses the park. The park has restrooms, camping area, trash cans, but no water and is open daily during daylight hours. There is no entrance fee.

DLNR to Hold Public Information Meeting with Climbers to Discuss Rock Climbing on Public Lands

Mokuleia “Wall” remains closed since June 2012

The Department of Land and Natural Resources will hold a public information meeting on issues concerning rock climbing on public lands from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday March 12, 2013 at Haleiwa Elementary School.


The meeting with DLNR officials is expected to cover the current status and pros and cons of legislation regarding legal and management actions associated with rock climbing on public lands, as well as possible long-term DLNR actions and solutions if enabling legislation does not pass this session.

On June 12, 2012 DLNR officially closed a cliffside area of State land at Mokuleia in the area adjacent to Kaena Point State Park. The hillside has been a popular climbing area featured on websites by local and visiting rock climbers, who had dubbed it “The Wall.”

It is the same area where a 12-year old girl was critically injured when a rock fell and hit her head the day before while participating in a group activity.

Closure of this state land area was done for the safety and welfare of the public under authority of Hawaii Revised Statutes Chapter 171-6 and Hawaii Administrative Rules Section 13-221-4.

Warning signs were posted at various access points in the area, advising the public of exposure to potential dangers and the closure. DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement officers were also stationed in the area to advise the public of the closure.

Although rock climbing is not prohibited by State law, this area was not sanctioned nor managed by DLNR for rock climbing, which may be considered an inherently hazardous activity. This area has remained closed to the present while DLNR officials considered their options.

House Passes Bills Supporting Big Island Initiatives

Legislation Introduced by Big Island Lawmakers Now Move to the Senate

Several bills that deal specifically with issues of concern to Big Island residents passed their final vote in the House today and will be sent to the Senate for their consideration.


Included are:

HB 417 HD2 seeks to address the shortage of primary care providers and improve access to healthcare in general by appropriating funds for the interdisciplinary Hawaii Health Systems Corporation Primary Care Training Program at Hilo Medical Center.

HB 414 HD2 would establish a Waipio Valley Commission to advise the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) on the development of a long term plan to ensure the proper stewardship and maintenance of Waipio Valley. The bill also appropriates funds to conduct a flood study and propose flood mitigation methods for the valley.

HB 20 HD1 seeks to protect public health and safety at Kua Bay, Kekaha Kai State Park, by appropriating funds for the employment of lifeguards.

HB 106 HD2 proposes to provide a detailed permitting process for geothermal resources development that, among other things, explicitly authorizes the counties to establish more stringent ordinances on geothermal development.

The Big Island  Representatives  (Rep. Mark Nakashima, Rep. Clift Tsuji, Rep. Richard Onishi, Rep. Faye Hanohano, Rep. Denny Coffman, Rep. Nicole Lowen and Rep Cindy Evans)said they were pleased that the measures were approved by the House, “these bills protect the environment and resources of our island and provide for the health and safety of our residents,” they said.

Hawaii’s Legacy Land Conservation Program Seeks Applicants for Land Acquisition Funding

The Department of Land and Natural Resources’ (DLNR) Legacy Land Conservation Program is seeking applicants for grants from the State Land Conservation Fund to fund the protection, through acquisition, of lands having value as a resource to the State of Hawai‘i.

The Legacy Land Conservation Program provides an annual source of funding for the acquisition and conservation of watersheds; coastal areas, beaches, and ocean access; habitat protection; cultural and historic sites; recreational and public hunting areas; parks; natural areas; agricultural production; and open spaces and scenic resources.

State agencies, county agencies, and non-profit land conservation organizations may apply. Proposed projects may include acquisition of fee title or conservation easements. County agencies and non-profit project applicants must be able to provide at least 25 percent of the total project costs. On average, funded projects usually bring about 65 percent matching funds from federal, county, or private sources.

This year, applicants are advised of an early deadline for a new requirement that includes a consultation with State agencies. Starting July 16, 2012 the 2012-2013 grant application and instructions are available at Application summaries must be submitted to consulting State agencies by August 3, 2012, and full applications must be received or postmarked no later than 4:30 p.m. on September 17, 2012.

The 2012-2013 application cycle may provide approximately $2.5 million in grants, awarded through a competitive process and subject to any budget restrictions. Funding is available through a portion of the State’s land conveyance tax set aside annually in the Land Conservation Fund for the purpose of protecting Hawai‘i’s unique and valuable resource lands.

Project applications will be reviewed by the Legacy Land Conservation Commission, which will nominate projects for funding.

Projects are subject to the approval of the Board of Land and Natural Resources, consultation with the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives, review by the Department of the Attorney General and the approval of the Governor. Final awards are subject to the availability of funds.

For more information on the Legacy Land Conservation Program, please visit or call (808) 586-0921.

The Lorax and The IHOP Promotion – DLNR Works With Corporate Head Quarters to End Distribution of Non-Native Seeds

Hawai‘i theater goers enjoying the new movie, “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax,” and its theme of protecting local tree species can help honor that message by supporting the use of native Hawaiian plants rather than non-native species.

IHOP Restaurants on the mainland are giving out bookmarks with seeds with every Lorax Breakfast purchased. (see bottom right)

To that end, the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) worked with local IHOP managers and the IHOP corporate headquarters in California last week to voluntarily discontinue the distribution of promotional bookmarks embedded with seeds at Hawai‘i IHOP locations.

“Thanks to the quick action of DLNR and others involved, we have turned a potentially negative situation into a positive one by expanding on the movie’s underlying message of being better stewards of our natural environment,” said Governor Neil Abercrombie. “The collaborative effort to discontinue the distribution of spruce seeds engages those who may not be aware of the importance of the ‘right plant in the right place.’ Our forests will thrive with more native flora and that benefits all of us.”

The bookmarks are part of a promotional campaign for Universal Pictures’ new movie release, “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax,” in which IHOP customers are being encouraged to help the Lorax by planting trees. The bookmarks are embedded with Engelmann spruce seeds, which are native to parts of the U.S. mainland but not to Hawai‘i.

IHOP in Hawai‘i has voluntarily discontinued distribution of seeds, and the DLNR and the Coordinatig Group on Alien Pest Species have partnered with native Hawaiian plant nurseries to create an exchange program so that any Hawai‘i resident IHOP customers who may already have received a seed-laden bookmark can exchange their spruce seed bookmark for a free native Hawaiian plant.

While the specific species included in the bookmark may not pose a high risk to Hawai‘i’s native plants, other species of spruce trees have been observed to be invasive in parts of the Pacific, where they replace native plants and the animals that depend on them.

IHOP’s corporate office demonstrated its commitment to protecting the environment by also discontinuing this promotion in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, where Engelmann spruce is also a nonnative species.

“We want to be responsible caretakers of our environment. When we learned that the trees in question would not be the best choice for Hawai‘i, we responded quickly. We hope our guests will take advantage of this exchange opportunity,” stated Patrick Lenow, spokesman for IHOP Restaurants.

First published in 1971, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax is a fictional story of a pristine environment where truffula trees provide food, clean air, and habitat for a community of unique animals. As they are overharvested to extinction, the Lorax tries to point out the environmental importance of the trees, but to no avail. The animals leave and the environment is left in ruins. However, the end of the story is one of hope: replant the truffula trees to restore the environment.

“Updating the message of The Lorax to include the value of native species is key for the next generation of conservationists to understand the problems facing our environment,” said Joshua Atwood, coordinator for the interagency Hawai‘i Invasive Species Council housed at the DLNR.

“An important part of The Lorax story is that the truffula trees grow nowhere else, and the Lorax is there to protect that limited resource. Similarly, many of Hawai‘i’s native plants and animals only exist on these islands, and we need to do what we can to protect them. That includes planting native, rather than nonnative, species whenever possible.”

One of the nurseries providing plants for the exchange is Hui Ku Maoli Ola, the largest native Hawaiian plant nursery in the state. “We believe in the importance of perpetuating our native flora as a part of our unique culture and environment,” said Matt Kapaliku Schirman, Hui Ku Maoli Ola co-founder. “This is a great opportunity to help protect and restore the Hawaiian environment.”

DLNR also thanks the Native Nursery and Big Island Plants or Ku ‘Oh‘ia Laka, whose exchange agreements were facilitated by the Maui and Big Island Invasive Species Committees.

IHOP customers who received a Lorax bookmark can exchange the seed-embedded bookmark for a native Hawaiian plant free of charge through the end of April, 2012 at the following participating nurseries:

O‘ahu: Hui Ku Maoli Ola Native Plant Nursery, 46-403 Haiku Rd, Kane‘ohe, HI, 96744, Hours: Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., Saturday 7:30 a.m. – noon, closed Sunday, Contact: (808) 235-6165,

Maui: Native Nursery and Ho‘olawa Farms, exchange facilitated by the Maui Invasive Species Committee (MISC), Contact MISC at (808) 573-6472

Hawai‘i Island: Big Island Plants or Ku ‘Oh‘ia Laka, exchange facilitated by the Big Island Invasive Species Committee (BIISC), Contact: BIISC at (808) 933-3345

Salvage Company to Removed Grounded Sailboat from Magic Island… Total Loss

Salvage removal company Vessel Assist has been hired to remove a 35’ fiberglass sailboat, “FSOW” that ran aground about 2 p.m. Wednesday on the rocks off Magic Island. The vessel’s owner, who had a temporary mooring permit at Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor, was in the harbor entrance channel when the engine lost power, and the boat went aground.

In addition to the vessel owner, Jessica Appel, there was a male passenger and a dog aboard. The owner sustained scratches and was taken by county EMS responders to a hospital for observation. The male passenger also sustained scratches but did not go to the hospital. The dog was reported in good condition.

The vessel had aboard about two gallons of fuel in a portable container which will be removed. No fluids were released.

According to DLNR’s Oahu boating district manager, Meghan Statts, the vessel had insurance and the company hired Vessel Assist to immediately begin removal of the vessel. This work is anticipated to possibly take three to four days.

The public is advised to keep away from the boat for safety while salvage operators are working, and because swells may move the boat in a hazardous way.

DLNR Presents – “The Rain Follows the Forest” Featuring Jason Scott Lee

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is focusing its efforts on ecosystem management to protect our islands’ fresh water resources.

"It's so easy to get caught up in our modern world. Easy to forget where you came from. And then you look at the world and realize that things are kinda out of control. I left Hollywood 15-years ago. I came home to Hawaii to remember what life is about. My name is Jason Scott Lee, and I live in the rainforest." Excerpt from a new program about protecting our watersheds.

DLNR has produced a half-hour television special illustrating the importance of watershed protection and restoration. “The Rain Follows the Forest,” features Jason Scott Lee setting out on a journey to learn about sustainable life in our island home. Through interesting conversations, he learns about Hawai‘i’s fragile fresh water supply and discovers connections to our upland forest environment, and shares ways in which we all can contribute to protecting our watersheds.

Jason Scott Lee is on a journey to see if Hawaii's future bodes well or not for future generations. Join Jason as he learns about how a healthy watershed impacts our ocean and near shore ecosystems. We will be sharing this journey and the television premiere information soon!

One of those conversations in the television special is with William J. Aila, Jr., Chairperson of DLNR who says, “I think about my grandchildren all the time and the challenges that they are going to face. The worst-case scenario is that our watersheds are depleted and the source of fresh water diminishes.” “Fresh water is really important for us, it’s important to every ecosystem from the top of the mountain even into the ocean,” continued Aila.

Hawaii’s water supplies are under threat from hotter and drier conditions from climate change, as well as loss of watershed forests. Jason Scott Lee examines this and other facts about watershed preservation as part of an educational video produced by DLNR.

Tune-in on Thursday January 19, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. on KGMB and join Jason Scott Lee as he learns about our watersheds and how they provide nearly all of our fresh water in Hawai‘i.

Jason Scott Lee learned from Larry Yamamoto just how our agriculture water systems work. Our January video premiere will tell the story.

DLNR has launched a facebook page which has been following the production of the television special. Follow DLNR on facebook at to see those images and keep up to date with DLNR news.

Airdates – January 2012

  • KGMB Thursday 1/19/2012 6:30-7pm
  • KGMB Sunday 1/22/2012 at 4:30-5pm
  • KHNL Thursday 1/26/2012 at 6:30-7pm
  • KHNL Saturday 1/28/2012 at 6 – 6:30pm

February 2012 – Throughout February on “Outside Hawai‘i” on OC16

For additional information, you may find “The Rain Follows the Forest: A Plan to Replenish Hawai‘i’s Source of Water” which was released by Governor Abercrombie in November 2011 on our DLNR website at

DLNR Statement on Yesterdays Whales in Honolulu Harbor

A pair of humpback whales, likely a mother and its yearling, entered Honolulu Harbor yesterday and spent time within the harbor near Pier 35, and later Pier 29, moved out of the harbor this afternoon and were headed out to sea by 1:45 p.m. yesterday. Earlier reports called these two animals a mother and calf.

Whales spotted in Honolulu Harbor Yesterday

DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) sent a patrol boat with two officers about 11 a.m. to Honolulu harbor to continue to maintain a safety zone around the whales. They relieved Coast Guard officials who had been monitoring the whales since the morning.

There were reports of four additional whales early in the morning near Pier 2, but these could not be confirmed.

DLNR reminds boaters that the months of November through May are humpback season in Hawaii, and reminds boaters to be alert and watch for whales in Hawaii waters to avoid whale strikes. Vessel operators and other ocean users are required to stay at least 100 yards away from them at all times. Humpback whales are an endangered species and are protected by State and Federal laws.

“We are grateful for the coordinated efforts of DOCARE, the Coast Guard, Honolulu Harbor Marine Traffic Control, and NOAA, who together ensured the safety of both the whales and boaters today,” said Elia Herman, State Co-Manager of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. “We also appreciate the efforts of ocean users who first sighted and reported the animals in the Harbor.”

To report a marine mammal in trouble (injured, stranded, or entangled whale, dolphin or seal) please call the NOAA Marine Mammal Hotline: 1-888-256-9840 or the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) statewide hotline: 643-DLNR (3567).

Please report immediately and keep your distance, for your safety. Injured, sick or entangled animals can be unpredictable and dangerous.

The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, which is jointly managed by the State of Hawai‘i and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, lies within the shallow warm waters surrounding the main Hawaiian Islands and constitutes one of the world’s most important humpback whale habitats.

Department of Land and Natural Resources Forced to Remove Information From Website Following Complaints from Save the Guava Campaign

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) was forced to remove information from its website yesterday in response to ethics violation complaints from Sydney Ross Singer of the Save the Guava Campaign, along with others.  The information removed pertained to the proposed release of an alien scale insect for strawberry guava biocontrol.

Guava after insect has attacked it

Guava after insect has attacked it

The complaint concerned the DLNR website,, which actively promoted information from the non-profit Conservation Council of Hawaii supporting and encouraging the insect release. The DLNR website also asked the public to contact legislators to push for the insect release.

The problem is that the DLNR refused to allow Save the Guava, or any other responsible individuals or groups, from posting any information on the government agency’s website opposing this insect release and balancing the presentation of this controversial biocontrol proposal.  Save the Guava has two websites dedicated to this issue, and However, the DLNR did not want to give any opposition a voice on their taxpayer funded website.

Sydney Ross Singer requested either inclusion on their website, or the removal of the other information. The DLNR responded, “DLNR reserves the right to post  information on our webpage that we find…support and assistance on department initiatives. The Department is under no obligation to post any or all information on a subject or views in opposition to the Department’s position….We choose not to post your link or information on this subject.”

However, they took off the images, links, and information of the pro-insect group, avoiding the issue rather than giving a forum for balanced presentations.  This decision was made the same day the DLNR received an UIPA request from Save the Guava for information into the funding of this insect release.

However, more ethics violations and conflict of interest problems remain for the DLNR.  The DLNR is slated to be the decision maker for the upcoming Draft Environmental Assessment, according to its “partner”, the US Forest Service, which is the proposing agency!

The DLNR and US Forest Service, along with 13 others, are partners and creators of the Hawaii Conservation Alliance and its related non-profit, the Hawaii Conservation Alliance Foundation. The DLNR is using taxpayer money, government employees, and DLNR office space to support the Hawaii Conservation Alliance Foundation. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the Nature Conservancy, both of which are members of this Alliance, have also publicly supported this insect release, which is an agenda of this group. The main office for this government spawned Hawaii Conservation Alliance Foundation is in the DLNR itself, making this a taxpayer supported foundation!

This is clearly conflict of interest and fraud.  And it should certainly disqualify the DLNR in being the determination agency for this insect release.

The DLNR is saying the insect release is a DLNR initiative. The DLNR is committed to promoting this insect agenda. And they are waiting to put their stamp of approval on this planned infestation of our state before the EA is even released for public review and comment.