The 2016 World Conservation Congress provides a global stage to highlight the work Hawai‘i’s state agencies, together with community partners, do every day. The message is simple: Conservation is everyone’s kuleana.
The Department of Land and Natural Resources is the agency entrusted with protecting the state’s vast natural, cultural and historic resources while overseeing their use in a sustainable way. It includes 10 divisions —“from the mountains to the sea,” says director Suzanne Case — and some 900 employees.
DLNR’s mission statewide ranges from protecting watersheds, endangered plants, animals and marine life to stemming the decline of near-shore fisheries and coral bleaching. It also partners with the state’s agriculture and health departments on biosecurity issues and guarding against invasive species. With the help of UH researchers, public-private partnerships and a growing community-based conservation network, DLNR is finding new ways to preserve the state’s natural resources.
Along with DLNR, another key agency critical to the success of the governor’s Sustainable Hawai‘i Initiative is the Department of Agriculture (HDOA) – The department’s 240 employees work to promote and protect Hawai‘i’s agriculture and aquaculture industries as well as maximize existing and new agricultural products. As part of the Sustainable Hawai‘i Initiative, the department is developing an interagency biosecurity plan to manage the risk from invasive species to protect the state’s environment, health and economy. The first draft of this new plan will be unveiled at the World Conservation Congress. (See October’s Capitol Connection for more on HDOA and the biosecurity plan.)
“We need to increase our resources and address the threat of invasive species if the state is going to be proactive toward food sustainability and animal and plant diseases,” said director Scott Enright.