Watershed Protection

Creates a watershed protection special fund.  (HB438 HD1)

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES                H.B. NO.           H.D. 1
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 1999                                
STATE OF HAWAII                                            

                   A  BILL  FOR  AN  ACT


 1      SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that Hawaii's water is the
 2 most important resource of Hawaii's forested lands.  Mountain
 3 watersheds are the primary source of water for the islands' urban
 4 industrial, commercial, and agricultural areas.  Forested
 5 watersheds reduce rains' erosive effects, prevent soil erosion,
 6 increase infiltration into the soil, strip moisture from the
 7 clouds, and help maintain a consistent and dependable source of
 8 surface water and groundwater.
 9      There is no other part of the United States where the
10 relationship between water and forest cover are more closely
11 interwoven than Hawaii.  This was recognized almost a century ago
12 by the government and business interests.  In 1903, a forest
13 management program was created with a mandate to protect sources
14 of water supply and to have care and control of the forest
15 reserves.  It is a tribute to that foresight and management that
16 Hawaii has forests and water supplies today.  Management
17 activities such as protective zoning, fencing, control of feral
18 animals, reforestation, and fire protection have reduced

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 1 excessive erosion, soil compaction, and loss of vegetative cover.
 2 However, the resources currently available for forest management
 3 are not in balance with the value of the water that is being
 4 harvested from our watersheds.  There is a need to establish a
 5 direct connection between the use of water and the funds needed
 6 to manage and sustain those resources.  The purpose of this Act
 7 is to create a watershed protection special fund whose moneys
 8 could be utilized for watershed management activities by public
 9 and private entities that would positively impact on water
10 quality, water quantity, and general watershed values within
11 designated important watershed areas.
12      SECTION 2.  Section 183-1, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is
13 amended by adding a new definition to be appropriately inserted
14 and to read as follows:
15      ""Important watershed management area" or "IWMA" means a
16 non-regulatory designation by the department used to identify a
17 watershed area, on public or private land, which contributes to
18 domestic water supplies and where public or private management
19 activities are needed to maintain and enhance the vegetative
20 cover and soil, retard rapid runoff of storm flows, prevent soil
21 erosion, and improve infiltration of water through the soil to
22 optimize recharge of the surface and groundwater supplies."

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                                     H.B. NO.           H.D. 1

 1      SECTION 3.  Section 183-1.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is
 2 amended to read as follows:
 3      "183-1.5  Duties in general.  The department shall:
 4      (1)  Gather and compile information and statistics
 5           concerning the area, location, character, and increase
 6           and decrease of forests in the State;
 7      (2)  Gather and compile information as necessary concerning
 8           trees, plants, and shrubs recommended for planting in
 9           different localities, including the care and
10           propagation of trees and shrubs for protective,
11           productive, and aesthetic purposes and other useful
12           information, which the department deems proper;
13      (3)  Have the power to manage and regulate all lands which
14           may be set apart as forest reserves;
15      (4)  Devise ways and means of protecting, extending,
16           increasing, and utilizing the forests and forest
17           reserves, more particularly for protecting and
18           developing the springs, streams, and sources of water
19           supply to increase and make that water supply available
20           for use;
21      (5)  Devise and carry into operation, ways and means by
22           which forests and forest reserves can, with due regard

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                                     H.B. NO.           H.D. 1

 1           to the main objectives of title 12, be made self-
 2           supporting in whole or in part;
 3      (6)  Devise and carry into operation, ways and means of
 4           reforesting suitable state lands;
 5      (7)  Formulate and from time to time recommend to the
 6           governor and legislature such additional legislation as
 7           it deems necessary or desirable for better implementing
 8           the objectives of title 12;
 9      (8)  Publish, at the end of each year, a report of the
10           expenditures and proceedings of the department and of
11           the results achieved by the department, together with
12           such other matters as are germane to the subject matter
13           under title 12 and which the department deems
14           proper[.]; 
15      (9)  Shall cooperate with federal agencies and county
16           organizations to identify important watershed
17           management areas, which would be non-regulatory in
18           nature and eligible for funding as provided for in
19           section 183-   ."
20      SECTION 4.  Chapter 183, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended
21 by adding a new section to part III to be appropriately
22 designated and to read as follows:

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 1      "183C-     Watershed protection special fund; source of
 2 funds; disposition of receipts.  (a)  There is established within
 3 the state treasury a special fund known as the watershed
 4 protection special fund to be administered by the department for
 5 the maintenance and enhancement of important watershed management
 6 areas.
 7      (b)  The department shall prepare an annual report for the
 8 legislature concerning the annual expenditures and amount of
 9 moneys accruing to the credit of the watershed protection special
10 fund from the following sources:
11      (1)  Revenues received from individual counties for
12           watershed management activities within their respective
13           counties; 
14      (2)  Federal government grants for the maintenance and
15           enhancement of important watershed management areas;
16      (3)  Private contributions for the maintenance and
17           enhancement of important watershed management areas;
18           and
19      (4)  Legislative appropriations.
20      (c)  The watershed protection special fund shall be held
21 separate and apart from all other moneys, funds, and accounts in
22 the state treasury; provided that moneys received as deposits or

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                                     H.B. NO.           H.D. 1

 1 contributions from the federal government or private sources
 2 shall be deposited and accounted for in accordance with the
 3 conditions established by the agencies or persons making the
 4 contribution.  Earnings on the investment of the assets of the
 5 fund shall become a part of the fund.  Any balance in the fund at
 6 the end of a fiscal year shall be carried forward to the next
 7 fiscal year.
 8      (d)  The watershed protection special fund shall be used and
 9 expended for the following purposes:
10      (1)  To implement watershed maintenance and enhancement
11           projects within important watershed management areas,
12           including but not limited to erosion prevention and
13           control, reforestation, exclusion of stock, and control
14           of feral animals;
15      (2)  To fund water and watershed resource monitoring
16           efforts, including but not limited to stream and
17           rainfall gauging, well monitoring, and water quality
18           studies;
19      (3)  To compensate the counties for revenue reductions due
20           to property tax incentive programs that could be
21           attached to watershed management properties; and

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 1      (4)  To purchase or lease watershed easements or other
 2           agreements to enhance protection efforts in identified
 3           important watershed management areas.
 4      (e)  The counties may direct all moneys derived from their
 5 respective county sources and deposited in the watershed
 6 protection special fund to specific important watershed
 7 management areas within their counties."
 8      SECTION 5.  New statutory material is underscored.
 9      SECTION 6.  This Act shall take effect on July 1, 1999.