This past summer I was fortunate enough to receive the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Marine Law Summer Internship. The internship was based out of the Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR), a division within DLNR. My interest in Hawai‘i’s marine resources and conservation fit perfectly with DAR’s role as a governmental agency tasked with managing all of the state’s aquatic resources and ecosystems.
The internship is like no other, mostly because of the different opportunities I was presented with on a daily basis. One morning I would be sitting at a desk working on the constitutionality of a proposed operating permit and that afternoon I would join in on a ride along with a state conservation and resource officer. The way the internship is structured is to provide a wide range of experiences. Instead of working on one or two big issues over the summer, I was exposed to all the various facets of a functioning state agency. Popping in to the Capitol, sitting in on meetings with the DLNR Chairperson, being surrounded by DAR biologists, being exposed to the rulemaking process, and working with community development organizations, all helped me understand how the government side of resource management and conservation functions.
I worked closely with the DLNR Marine Law Fellow and WSRSL alumnus Wayne Tanaka ’09. He kept me busy with projects relating directly to DAR, but also broader resource issues as well. The short list of projects I worked on this summer included: legal research relating to the dormant commerce clause, federal preemption of commercial boating regulations, and coral settlement agreements by the state; rulemaking for a proposed Community Based Subsistence Fishing Area in Kaua‘i; legislative history research into state accounting laws; attending the Hawai‘i Conservation Conference; and participating in an international Marine Enforcement and Compliance Workshop. I was even able to conduct “field research” and throw net in Maunalua Bay.
The experience was much more than a typical summer internship and I would highly recommend the DLNR Marine Law Summer Internship!