The Department of Land and Natural Resources, headed by an executive Board of Land and Natural Resources, is responsible for managing, administering, and exercising control over public lands, water resources, ocean waters, navigable streams, coastal areas (except commercial harbors), minerals, and all interests therein. The department’s jurisdiction encompasses nearly 1.3 million acres of State lands, beaches, and coastal waters as well as 750 miles of coastline (the fourth longest in the country). It includes state parks; historical sites; forests and forest reserves; aquatic life and its sanctuaries; public fishing areas; boating, ocean recreation, and coastal programs; wildlife and its sanctuaries; game management areas; public hunting areas; and natural area reserves.
Dawn N. S. Chang, Chairperson,
Co-Chair for the Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission
Ms. Chang is an expert on land issues and regulatory requirements. She served 14-years as Deputy Attorney General with the Hawai’i Office of the Attorney General-Land/Transportation Division and counsel to various State Boards and Commissions such as the Board of Land and Natural Resources, Commission on Water Resources Management, Kaho’olawe Island Reserve Commission, Na Ala Hele Trails and Access system, Natural Area Reserves program, and Island Burial Councils. During her tenure with the Attorney General’s Office, she litigated cases that were heard in state and federal courts. In 2016, Ms. Chang was appointed and confirmed to the State Land Use Commission and served until 2022. She is a former social worker with Queen Lili‘uokalani Children’s Center where she was a community organizer in Waimanalo and counseled orphaned and disenfrancished Native Hawaiian children and families. She received her law degree from the Richardson School of Law, a MA in Social Work from the University of Hawai‘i, and a BA in sociology from the University of Hawai‘i. Ms. Chang is a member of the Hawai‘i State Bar Association and Native Hawaiian Bar Association. She has served on the boards of the Kualoa-He‘eia Ecumenical Youth, Historic Hawaiʻi Foundation, Girl Scouts of Hawaii, Camp Mokule‘ia with the Episcopal Church, William S. Richardson School of Law Alumni Association, Waimanalo Teen Project, Hawai‘i Youth Opera Chorus, Hoʻokano Family Land Trust, Planned Parenthood, and Pacific Islands Land Institute. … read more
Kanaka‘ole was nominated by Gov. Josh Green to become DLNR First Deputy in January 2024. He previously served as a Deputy Attorney General with the Dept. of the Attorney General, most recently, as an attorney for the Hawai‘i Housing Finance and Development Corporation (HHFDC) and the Mauna Kea Stewardship Oversight Authority. From 2017-2023 he served as the deputy AG for the Department of Hawaiian Homelands (DHHL).
He also was involved in audits of DLNR, the University of Hawai‘i, the State Foundation of Culture and the Arts, the Department of Transportation, Department of the Attorney General, the Hawai‘i Energy Office, and the Department of Human Services (DHS).
He was appointed to the Public Land Trust Working Group due to his expertise on issues related to public land trust.
Kanaka‘ole is instrumental in continuing to build relationships with stakeholders, lawmakers, and communities and fostering DLNR’s conservation mission.
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