Hawaii Department Of Land And Natural Resources

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The department was created shortly after Hawaii became a state to manage the state’s public lands, water and coastal areas. Key areas of focus are soil conservation, forest reserves, aquatic life, wildlife, state parks and historic sites, and all activities that occur in those areas. The department’s annual operating budget of approximately $110 million is funded by a combination of the state’s general fund and special funds, as well as federal funds. In its current two-year budget, the department set aside about $120 million for capital improvements, which would be funded by bonds.

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Act 55, signed by Gov. Neil Abercrombiein May 2011, created the Public Land Development Corporation, which acts as a development arm of the Department of Land and Natural Resources. The corporation facilitates private development of state lands. Revenues generated from the public-private partnerships are expected aid DLNR budget woes.

In March 2010, the National Park Service issued a report that said the department’s Historic Preservation Division was mismanaged and jeopardizing the division’s federal funding.


The department’s mission is to “Enhance, protect, conserve and manage Hawaii’s unique and limited natural, cultural and historic resources held in public trust for current and future generations of visitors and the people of Hawaii nei in partnership with others from the public and private sectors.” Its operations are governed by Title 13 of the Hawaii Administrative Rules.

Both the Department of Land and Natural Resources and Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources are given their authority by Chapter 11, Section 2 of the Hawaii State Constitution, as well as Section 171-3 and Section 26-15 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes.

Organizational Structure

The department includes the following divisions:

  • Division of Aquatic Resources, which “manages the state’s aquatic resources and ecosystems through programs in commercial fisheries and resource enhancement; aquatic resources protection, habitat enhancement, and education; and recreational fisheries.”
  • Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation, which “administers programs, manages facilities and issues permits to make the nearshore waters safe for everyone.”
  • Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement, which “enforces all State laws and rules involving State lands, State Parks, historical sites, forest reserves, aquatic life and wildlife areas, coastal zones, Conservation districts, State shores, as well as county ordinances involving county parks.”
  • Engineering Division, which “provides technical support in protecting and managing Hawaii’s natural resources.”
  • Bureau of Conveyances, which “examines, records, indexes, and microfilms over 344,000 Regular System and Land Court documents and maps annually; issues Land Court Certificates of Title; certifies copies of matters of record; and researches UCC requests.”
  • Division of Forestry and Wildlife, which is “responsible for the management of State-owned forests, natural areas, public hunting areas, and plant and wildlife sanctuaries.”
  • Historic Preservation Division, which “works to preserve and sustain reminders of earlier times which link the past to the present.”
  • Land Division, which is “responsible for the management of State-owned lands in ways that will promote the well-being of Hawaii’s people and insure that these lands are used in accordance with the goals, policies and plans of the state.”
  • Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands, which is “responsible for overseeing approximately 2 million acres of private and public lands that lie within the State Land Use Conservation District. In addition, to privately and publicly zoned Conservation District lands, OCCL is responsible for overseeing beach and marine lands out to the seaward extend of the state’s jurisdiction.”
  • Division of State Parks, which “manages and administers 52 state parks encompassing nearly 25,000 acres on the five major islands.”

A number of boards and commissions also fall under the department. In addition to overseeing the department, the DLNR chief serves as chair of the Board of Land and Natural Resources and as a member of the Commission on Water Resource Management.

The department boards include:

  • The seven-member volunteer Board of Land and Natural Resources, which convenes twice each month to “review and take action on department submittals, including land leases and Conservation District Use Applications.” Board members hail from all four counties and are appointed by the governor, confirmed by the Hawaii Senate and have four-year terms.
  • The seven-member volunteer Commission on Water Resource Management, which “has jurisdiction over land-based surface water and ground water resources, but not coastal waters. The protection and management of these water resources is carried out through resource assessments, planning, and regulation.”
  • The various island burial councils, which are administered by the Historic Preservation Division. The volunteer burial councils decide if Hawaiian burials are to be preserved in place or disinterred and re-interred, and give the division recommendations on proposed burial treatment plans put forth by developers and landowners.


The department is responsible for nearly 2 million acres of conservation land, placing it in a prominent position in the public eye. In many ways, the department serves as a literal and figurative gatekeeper to some of Hawaii’s most treasured natural resources, both in state parks and on private property. Native Hawaiians’ connection to the land is a basic part of their identity and as a result, decisions regarding historical and naturally beautiful places make the Department of Land and Natural Resources the state’s lead agency in regard to land use issues.

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  • Phone: (808) 587-0400
  • Email: dlnr@hawaii.gov

January 2018

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December 2017

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November 2017

Friday, November 10

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Friday, November 3

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October 2017

Monday, October 9

‘Ecological Roulette’: Almost 70 Species Rode Tsunami Debris To Hawaii

September 2017

Monday, September 18

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Friday, September 15

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Wednesday, September 6

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July 2017

Friday, July 21

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June 2017

Friday, June 23

DLNR Urges Ige To Veto Bill Phasing Out Aquarium Fishing In Hawaii

Wednesday, June 21

Kaneohe Bay Kayak Rentals Continue Despite State’s Disapproval

May 2017

Tuesday, May 23

Denby Fawcett: Pushing For Tough Penalty In Albatross Killings

January 2017

Thursday, January 12

Is Hawaii Spending Enough To Protect Its Natural Resources?

December 2016

Thursday, December 8

State Hides Work History Of Former Cop Charged With Sex Assault

September 2016

Friday, September 16

State Investigating Placement Of Human Remains At TMT Site

August 2016

Wednesday, August 17

Hawaii’s State Of The Environment: Good, Bad And Ugly

June 2016

Thursday, June 30

Ige Signs Act Prohibiting Most Ivory Sales in Hawaii

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Enforcement Chief Leaves DLNR

Monday, June 6

Big Island’s New Marine Reserve Was A Long Time Coming

May 2016

Monday, May 16

Judge Seeks ‘Fresh’ Start, But Acrimony Over TMT Resurfaces

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April 2016

Tuesday, April 19

Not So Public: Hey DLNR, We’re Still Waiting For That Info On Commercial Tours

Tuesday, April 12

Hawaii Senate Approves Water Rights Bill Over Loud Protests

Tuesday, April 5

Maui’s Ancient Water Rights Debate Headed For Capitol Showdown

January 2016

Tuesday, January 26

NOAA Withdraws Proposal To Expand Whale Sanctuary

December 2015

Wednesday, December 16

Should Hawaii’s DLNR Cops Carry Semi-Automatic Weapons?

November 2015

Monday, November 16

Hawaii Rejects Demand For Aquarium Fishing Moratorium

October 2015

Thursday, October 8

DLNR Names New Head of Parks Division

August 2015

Monday, August 31

Convicted Car Dealer Poised to Donate Hawaii Kai Land for Nature Reserve

Wednesday, August 26

Hawaii DLNR Official Has Close Connection to Virginia Shootings

Tuesday, August 4

Ige Signs Rules to Create Community-Based Subsistence Fishing Area

July 2015

Thursday, July 16

‘Energy and Passion’ for Maunalua Bay Drives a Deep Debate Over the Future of the Marine Sanctuary

April 2015

Tuesday, April 14

DLNR Rules Linger in Governor’s Office

Friday, April 10

The Projector: Voyage Recalled, Rail Debated, New DLNR Pick and the Mountaintop Scene

Wednesday, April 8

Senate Committee Sets Hearing for Ige’s New Choice to Head DLNR

Thursday, April 2

Deadline Looms for Ige to Pick New DLNR Chair

March 2015

Friday, March 20

Remembering Laura Thielen’s Own DLNR Confirmation

Thursday, March 12

LIVE: Day 2 of Carleton Ching’s DLNR Nomination Hearing

Wednesday, March 11

LIVE: Carleton Ching’s DLNR Nomination Hearing

Thursday, March 5

Cabinet Website Says Ching Already Leads DLNR

February 2015

Thursday, February 26

Ige Urges Senators to Support Carleton Ching Nomination for DLNR

Tuesday, February 17

Pod Squad on Carleton Ching, Ige’s Controversial DLNR Pick

Thursday, February 12

Governor Stands Behind Decision to Nominate Ching for DLNR Director

November 2014

Monday, November 17

DLNR: ‘Serious Natural Resource Damage’ Leads to Kaena Point Changes

June 2014

Thursday, June 19

Thielen, DLNR to Join Civil Cafe Discussion on Hiking in Hawaii

December 2013

Friday, December 13

Debate Rises Over Development Plan for Kailua Marsh

October 2012

Thursday, October 25

Lawsuit: DLNR Must Study Effects of Aquarium Fish Trade on Hawaii Reefs

August 2012

Wednesday, August 15

Native Hawaiians Sue City Over Haleiwa Park Sale

July 2012

Wednesday, July 25

Hawaii Land Corp. Pushes Forward on Projects, Despite Lack of Rules

May 2012

Thursday, May 17

Hawaii Historic Preservation Office Spent Job Money on Cars, iPads

April 2012

Wednesday, April 4

Governor’s Water Commission Choices Are Once Again Under Fire

December 2011

Friday, December 23

Hawaii Cracks Down on Beachfront Property Owners in Kahala

November 2011

Saturday, November 19

Kauai Pushes for Ban on Aquarium Trade

October 2011

Monday, October 24

AG, DLNR Back Pedal On Problems With Land Development Corp

Friday, October 21

NOAA: Americans Willing to Pay $33 Billion to Protect Hawaii’s Reefs

Saturday, October 1

New State Lands Agency Violates Abercrombie Order on Public Meetings

September 2011

Tuesday, September 27

Conservation Groups Drop Lawsuit against Kauai Utility

Wednesday, September 21

Who Controls the Mineral Rights to Hawaiian Home Lands?

Tuesday, September 6

Hawaiian Nene Being Kicked Off Kauai

August 2011

Tuesday, August 30

State Needs Executive Director to Spearhead Public Land Development

Monday, August 29

Rail Opponents: DLNR Statement on Burials ‘Patently False’

Tuesday, August 23

Hawaii Development Corp. Trips Over Sunshine Law

Thursday, August 4

Environmental Groups Move to Thwart Hawaii Caged Fishing Operation

July 2011

Friday, July 22

More States Turn to Private Companies to Develop Public Lands

New Law Jumpstarts Hawaii Land Development

June 2011

Wednesday, June 8

DLNR Hires Firm To Shore Up Historic Preservation

May 2011

Thursday, May 19

Hawaiian Rights Fight Lands at Supreme Court

April 2011

Friday, April 22

Do Native Hawaiians Have The Right To Break Rules?

Tuesday, April 12

Aila: FTA Required Phased-In Approach For Rail

March 2011

Wednesday, March 16

Planning for Disaster on Big Island of Hawaii

Saturday, March 5

Week 44: Jousting At The Senate

Friday, March 4

One Final Attack Before Senate Confirms Aila

Wednesday, March 2

Transcript Paints Picture of a Divided Hawaii Senate

Democrats Talk, Give Aila Nomination Green Light

Senate Democrats to Hold Special Meeting on Aila

Tuesday, March 1

Hawaii Senators E-Bicker Over Land Chief Nominee

February 2011

Friday, February 25

Hee Speaks on Aila Confirmation Delay

Wednesday, February 23

Aila Debate Lands on Hawaii Senate Floor

Amid Ethics Questions, Aila Confirmation Delayed

Saturday, February 19

Government Exempt From New Burial Protections

Friday, February 18

What a Difference a Day Makes

Wednesday, February 16

Case Study in Hawaii Ethics Enforcement

Saturday, February 12

Aila Nomination Sails Through Committee

Tuesday, February 1

Are Further Protections for Burials Feasible?

January 2011

Friday, January 14

Once Adversaries, Aila and Army Now Teaming Up

Old Proposal Alive Under New Land Chief

December 2010

Friday, December 3

Open Iolani Palace to All? Some Native Hawaiians Say No Thanks

Thursday, December 2

State Land Chief: Hawaii Parks in ‘Deplorable’ Condition

November 2010

Thursday, November 18

Next DLNR Chief Has Work To Do

May 2010

Monday, May 17

UPDATE: A Long History Of Requests To Develop Farmland

Monday, May 3

Discussion: Land