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DLNR Seeking Streamlined Permitting Process to Restore Fishponds

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is taking part in a “Ho‘āla Loko I‘a” initiative with cultural practitioners in Hawaii to assist with the restoration and operation of traditional Hawaiian fishponds.

DLNR

“Hawaiian fishpond systems, loko i‘a, are some of Hawai‘i’s most significant traditional cultural resources,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR chairperson. “To help community organizations and traditional fishpond practitioners revitalize these important resources and navigate the many government regulations approvals,” DLNR is currently pursuing a state programmatic general permit (SPGP) from the federal government,” he said.

 “This will allow the State to streamline the permitting process by utilizing a single application process for the restoration, repair, maintenance and reconstruction of loko i‘a statewide, in Hawai‘i,” Aila said.

The draft environmental assessment for the SPGP was published in the Environmental Notice on April 23, and DLNR is seeking public comments on the proposal. Copies of the Environmental Assessment, along with other related documents, are available on the websites for the Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands (http://hawaii.gov/dlnr/occl/manuals-reports) and Honua Consulting (http://www.honuaconsulting.com/lokoia/).

Comments can be submitted via Honua’s website. The official public comment period will run through May 23, 2013.

Project representatives are also available to meet on-site with fishpond practitioners to review the proposal. Interested hui may contact Michael Cain at the Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands at 808-783-2501 or by e-mail at Michael.Cain@hawaii.gov.

Education Effort Aims to Improve Wildlife Viewing Experience for Public and Protect Hawaii’s Unique Marine Resources

In an effort to better educate visitors and residents about proper marine wildlife viewing, the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), along with Honua Consulting and more than 20 community partners, has created a series of video public service announcements about Hawai`i’s marine resources.

DLNR

“We recognize the need to be proactive in managing human-wildlife interactions in Hawai‘i,” explained William Aila, Chairman of the Board of Land and Natural Resources. “As part of the Governor’s New Day plan for better environmental stewardship, the more we can educate visitors and residents about proper wildlife viewing, the more we can keep both the public and marine animals safe.”

The videos also encourage the public to choose tour operators that keep their distance when viewing marine wildlife like spinner dolphins, Hawaiian monk seals, turtles, and humpback whales.

The PSAs are particularly important as incidents of both monk seal hookings and humpback whale ship strikes continue to occur. In the 2012-2013 whale season, there have been 10 confirmed whale-vessel contacts. In 2012 there were 17 confirmed monk seal hookings. This year, there have been 6 confirmed hookings so far.

The project, Respect Ocean and Aquatic Resources (ROAR) Hawai‘i, was funded by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority. The videos, which were shot and produced locally by ‘Ōiwi TV, also feature the Hawaiian language. “Part of what makes the Hawaiian Islands such a unique and special destination is our rich natural environment and unique host culture,” said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority. “We are pleased to partner with DLNR and Honua Consulting to educate visitors and kama‘āina about the proper way to protect our ocean and marine life, while also highlighting the Hawaiian language.”

The videos can be viewed at the project website, http://roarhawaii.org/media/

If you would like hi-resolution copies of the PSAs for use and distribution please email roarhawaii@gmail.com.

ROAR Hawaii is a collection of information on Native Hawaiian ocean related practices and resources with the purpose of encouraging understanding and appreciation of our ocean through research, education, and culture.

Video: Public Warned to Keep Out of Water Around Whale Carcass in Pahoa – Sharks Actively Feeding

The DLNR is warning the public to keep out of the near shore and ocean waters off Pahoa, due to the presence of tiger sharks that are being attracted to a decomposing 50-foot long sperm whale carcass.


DLNR’s aquatic resources and enforcement divisions are working together to post shark warning signs and to direct the public to stay out of the water within one mile on either side of where the carcass located on the rocky shoreline in front of the Hawaiian Beaches Subdivision.

Numerous sharks are present and actively feeding on the carcass in nearshore waters. The carcass is also considered a public nuisance because of its offensive odor.The state office of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary at DLNR, in partnership with NOAA’s Fisheries Service, is working with a private marine salvage company to remove the carcass. The public is advised to remain out of these waters until three days after the carcass is removed. DLNR will issue updates as they become available.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/rhf8AkItMfc]
Sperm whales are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act as well as Hawaii Revised Statute Ch. 195-D. Taking and possession of any part of the animal is prohibited without prior authorization from NOAA and the State. Disturbing and tampering with the carcass is also prohibited.An area resident first reported the carcass in the morning on Wednesday, August 22, 2012. A Hawaii County Fire Department Helicopter confirmed the presence of the carcass by about mid-morning, and it was up against the shore by the afternoon.

Video courtesy of Honua Consulting.