DLNR Renews Calls for Watershed Protection in 2013 Legislative Session
By Sophie Cocke 01/14/2013
The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources is mounting a renewed push for long-term funding for the protection of the stateís critical watershed areas.
At stake is the islandsí fresh water supply. Hawaii's streams and estuaries are being threatened by hotter and drier conditions due to climate change, and watershed forests are being ravaged by invasive species, state and county officials told the Senate Energy and Environment Committee at a Friday briefing.
Last year, efforts to gain dedicated funding from the Legislature failed. The department had hoped to secure about $11 million from a fee on disposable bags, but the bill didnít pass. Gov. Neil Abercrombie provided $5 million out of the stateís budget, but it was a one-time allocation.
The department is again hoping to secure $11 million a year for at least the next 10 years this session, which begins Wednesday. Much of the money could either come from a new bag bill or an increase in the conveyance tax, Randy Kennedy, DLNRís native ecosystem section manger told lawmakers.