Natural History, Hydrology and Water Quality of Enchanted Lake – Kaelepulu Pond
Download the report: Physical and water quality processes in Kaelepulu (PDF)
This report has been produced as a means to assemble a wide variety of information concerning the Kaelepulu estuary in Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii to help managers understand how the estuary works, to help make wise stewardship decisions, and to guide others in future investigations of this estuary.
Every natural system is the product of multiple factors working together to produce a unique ecosystem. But some factors in each ecosystem play more important roles than others, and shoulder a disproportionate effect on the way the system functions. To effectively manage a natural system it is important to identify the key factors of control, and understand how they may be manipulated to both avoid ecosystem catastrophes and direct the production of valued ecosystem functions and services to the community.“Nature to be Commanded Must be Obeyed” (Bacon ~1600)Click To Tweet
I first met this estuary over 30 years ago, in 1983 when I helped Mark Brooks gather a dozen gunny sacks of ogo, (Gracilaria tikvayhae, the same species that dominates the estuary today) to be used as seed stock for an aquaculture venture at Heeia fishpond. The ogo was collected from the shallow wetland end of the lake in patches between the oyster beds that covered half of the substrate, and in the afternoon shadows of the 50-foot tall mangroves that lined the western shore of the pond along Keolu Drive. Like most people in the community, I’d driven past “The Lake” hundreds of times without appreciating the value of the estuary, only decrying the foul odor downwind of the mangroves every summer. In the early 1990s I was approached by Mr. Dixon Yamamoto, who had purchased land along Keolu from Jimmy Lee. Mr. Lee had gotten rid of the mangroves and filled the land (and was cited by the USACE for it), before selling the property to Mr. Yamamoto. But the rotten egg smell attributed to the mangroves persisted, and Mr. Yamamoto was worried it would lower his land value. He need not have worried, as the Japanese economic bubble popped before he could sell his developed lots, and they were eventually sold for only about half of his original asking price. In 1999 I purchased one of the improved but undeveloped lots, built a house, and therein began the persistent journey trying to understand how this estuary works, how to protect it, and what needs to be done to improve it for future generations.