Effort could ease fishpond restoration projects

WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) - An effort seeks to untangle the complex government process for projects to restore cultural Hawaiian fishponds.

The Maui News says the state Department of Land and Natural Resources has scheduled February hearings in Maui County for public input on a proposal to create a statewide general permit for restoration, maintenance and operation of traditional fishponds.

Other hearings also are scheduled for Kauai, Oahu and the Big Island.

Also involved in the effort is the Hui Malama Loko l'a, a group of fishpond practitioners.

The hui's statewide coordinator, Brenda Asuncion, says projects have been required to comply with this many as 17 regulations and to obtain permits from various agencies.

Asuncion says the current permitting process is a main hindrance for projects undertaken as a "labor of love."

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