THE SENATE

S.R. NO.

29

THIRTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2021

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

SENATE RESOLUTION

 

 

requesting the department of land and natural resources to conduct a needs assessment for the feasibility and effectiveness of a division of ocean and coastal management within the department of land and natural resources.

 

 


WHEREAS, the entire State of Hawaii falls within Hawaii's coastal zone boundary; and

 

WHEREAS, due to its physical location, configuration, and climate, Hawaii is rich in a number of valuable coastal ecosystems, such as wetlands and reef flats, embayments and sheltered coves, sand beaches, and coral reefs that serve important natural functions, such as providing habitat and breeding grounds for wildlife and living marine resources, natural buffers to the action of storm waters, and a natural laboratory for scientific and biological research. In addition, they provide the basis for recreational and commercial fishing businesses; and

 

WHEREAS, demand for coastal recreational opportunities for beach use and water sports continues to rise because of population, growth, increased affluence, greater leisure time, and increased tourism; and

 

WHEREAS, increasing and competing demands upon the lands and waters of the coastal zone occasioned by population growth and economic development, including requirements for industry, commerce, residential development, transportation and navigation, waste disposal, and harvesting of marine resources have resulted in the loss of living marine resources, reduced groundwater and aquifer recharge areas, increased vulnerabilities to coastal development, reduced living marine resources, wildlife, nutrient-rich areas, permanent and averse changes to ecological systems, decreased open space for public use, increased shoreline erosion, and compromised infrastructure due to erosion and coastal flooding; and

 

WHEREAS, climate change will result in substantial sea level rise with serious adverse effects in the coastal zone. Seventy percent of beaches in Hawaii are experiencing coastal erosion and many miles of beach have been severely narrowed or lost over the past century; and

 

WHEREAS, Hawaii has a substantial and significant interests in the protection, management, and development of ocean and coastal resources; and

 

WHEREAS, the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands, is responsible for the management of coastal resources including beaches, dunes, and rocky shorelines seaward of county jurisdictions and/or within the State Conservation District. The Coastal Lands Program is responsible for coordinating coastal management, maintaining the delicate balance between conservation of coastal resources and responsible development of coastal areas, mitigating risks from natural and human-induced hazards for coastal communities, and implementing innovative shoreline management techniques; and

 

WHEREAS, in 1972, the Legislature authorized the Department of Planning and Economic Development to prepare a plan for the management of the State's coastal zones to comply with the requirements of the Federal Coastal Zone Management Act. The Federal Coastal Zone Management Act provided that the state Land Use Commission has the authority to administer land and water use regulations in coastal zones, control development to ensure compliance with the State's management program in coastal zones, and resolve conflicts among competing uses in coastal zones; and

 

WHEREAS, in 1977, the Legislature established the Coastal Zone Management Program within the Office of Planning of the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism. The Office of Planning's purpose is to provide central direction and cohesion in the allocation of resources and effectuation of state activities and programs, and effectively address current or emerging issues and opportunities. The purpose of the Coastal Zone Management Program is to provide for the effective management, beneficial use, protection, and development of the coastal zone; and

 

WHEREAS, through the Office of Planning's Coastal Zone Management Program and enactment of Chapter 205A, the Legislature established a network program, whereby the program works with a network of state agencies and local governments to administer and enforce all laws, regulations, and policies that protect the coastal zone; and

 

WHEREAS, Hawaii's environment is both undermanaged and overregulated and new regulatory mechanisms should not be added onto, but rather combined into, the existing systems; now, therefore,

 

BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Thirty-first Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2021, that the Department of Land and Natural Resources is requested to conduct a needs assessment for the feasibility and effectiveness of a Division of Ocean and Coastal Management; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Division of Ocean and Coastal Management would be the designated state coastal management agency and be responsible for the implementation and administration of Hawaii's coastal zone management program, including the direct regulation of coastal resources within the critical areas of the state including coastal waters, tidelines, beaches, and beach dune systems and the consideration of ecological, cultural, aesthetic, recreational, scenic, open space values, public access, coastal hazards, sea level rise, and needs for economic development; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Division of Ocean and Coastal Management should effectively manage networks of healthy coral reefs while improving the health of reef ecosystems at priority sites, identify and fill in management gaps that inform existing efforts to prevent further damage to fragile nearshore ecosystems, and supplement existing efforts to address the effects of sea level rise; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Department of Land and Natural Resources is requested to submit a report of its findings and recommendations, including any proposed legislation, to the Legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the Regular Session of 2022; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be transmitted to the Director of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism and Chairperson of the Board of Land and Natural Resources.

 

 

 

 

OFFERED BY:

_____________________________

 

 

Report Title:

Department of Land and Natural Resources; Division of Ocean and Coastal Management; Needs Assessment