Sustainability Summit

Water Ways
Honolulu Star Bulletin (10/04/97)
By Ray Pendleton

Sustainability is how the State's Department of Land and Natural Resources defines its management philosophy. It was therefore appropriate for the DLNR to hold its second annual Sustainability Summit last Wednesday at the State Capitol.

Some two hundred participants from around the state gathered together with DLNR resource managers in an attempt to ensure that the irreplaceable resources and environmental qualities we enjoy today are preserved for the future.

The participants ranged from representatives of various special interest groups related to conservation, preservation, and eco-tourism, to representatives of concerned governmental agencies such as, the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, the Honolulu Water Safety Division, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Coast Guard.

In his opening introduction, DLNR Chairman Mike Wilson noted that "we are here to deal with Hawaii's future. Our theme is implementing sustainability."

He went on to point out that the state constitution demands that we sustain our natural resources, including the islands' natural beauty, or what Wilson refered to as "what makes Hawai`i Hawai`i."

For carrying out the task of implementation, Wilson introduced DLNR's method of prioritizing its activities by pinpointing "hot spots," or resources that are declining or degrading.

For the morning sessions, the eight hot spot areas under discussion were:
o Sustaining near-shore areas: Balancing recreational pressures at Waikiki Beach on O`ahu, Kealakekua Bay on the Big Island and Ahihi-Kinau on Kaua`i.
o Sustaining native Hawaiian ecosystems: Balancing protection and use in the East Maui watershed and the Kaena Point Natural Area Reserve.
o Sustaining water resources: Protecting the Iao Aquifer.
o Sustaining cultural sites: Management of the upper Waianae Valley and Keakealaniwahine House site.
o Sustaining wetlands: Restoration and flood control efforts at Kawai Nui Marsh on O`ahu.
o Sustaining fisheries: Efforts for stock enhancement, aquiculture, and a bottom-fish recovery plan.
o Sustaining forests: Direction of the Hamakua Coast Commercial Forestry Initiative.

The afternoon sessions focused on the elements of long-term sustainability:
o Is sustainability compatible with commercial use?
oLooking at alternative funding sources for natural resource management in Hawai`i, and what other states are doing.
o Why and how investing in restoration today will lead to sustainability tomorrow.
o Improving cooperative efforts to decrease alien species threats in Hawai`i.
o Fostering and utilizing community-based resource management and volunteer efforts.
o Designing sustainability, and the role of architects, engineers and planners.
o Increasing enforcement capabilities through volunteers and voluntary compliance.
o Protecting coastlines and plans for addressing erosion.

The day-long summit, it was hoped, will result in a buy-in by both the community and our legislature. After all, we all have a responsibility not only to the place we live, but to the world.

As Wilson stressed, there's an "outside community" who cherishes Hawai`i and her natural resources and it expects us to be its protectors.

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