Help us save and restore Maui's remaining Wetlands


Help us save and restore Maui's remaining Wetlands


Kanahā Pond

Kanahā Pond in Kahului is an important wildlife sanctuary and protected home of the Ae’o (rare Hawaiian Stilt). Kanahā Pond located in the Ahupua’a of Wailuku, is a wetland and was part of a much larger area of wetlands and marshes that extended from the Kahului airport all the way to the Ka’ahaumanu shopping center. Kanahā Pond was modified into a Loko Pu’uone (inland fishpond) as a gift to the Ali’i Nui (chief). This pond was later modified by the Military during WW2. However, the wetland hydrology and the wildlife remain.

Kanaha Pond in Kahului, Makaha and Auwai.
Kanahā Pond’s Makaha and Auwai.

Kanahā Pond is an example of a Loko Pu’uone (inland fishpond) which was a natural wetland that was modified by the Hawaiians to make a fishpond. It was later modified by the US military. But the underlying hydrology and the wildlife remain. Saving the wetlands also means saving Hawaiian fishponds like this as well. Saving these wetlands means protecting the hydrology that feeds them and allowing them to maintain their essential watershed and wetland functions.

A dry looking Kanaha Pond reveals the bunkers from WWII
A dry looking Kanahā Pond reveals the bunkers from WWII

The city of Kahului grew up around this important Fishpond and over time development has degraded the freshwater springs that feed this wetland. Kahului was deliberately drained by a series of de-watering channels to allow for development, so the water table in the area has been artificially lowered.

Kanaha Pond in Kahului, Drainage Channels
Drainage channel used to dewater the wetlands of Kahului.

Here is an interesting view of Kanahā Pond beside the Mauoni Pond (they are sister ponds), and you can see that there is a separate channel that bypasses Kanahā Pond. Kanahā Pond is allowed to go dry while this channel is full of water.

Kanaha Pond in Kahului, and Mauoni Pond are sister Wetland Fishponds.
Kanahā and Mauoni are sister Fishponds

According to Wikipedia: Kanahā Pond State Wildlife Sanctuary is a 143-acre (58 ha) wetland in Maui, Hawaii. This waterfowl sanctuary attracts two endangered Hawaiian bird species, the Hawaiian coot (ʻalaeʻalae keʻokeʻo) (Fulica alai) and the Hawaiian stilt (aeʻo) (Himantopus mexicanus knudseni).ā_Pond_State_Wildlife_Sanctuary

KAHULUI DRAINAGE CHANNELS: This network of drainage channels is designed to de-water the wetlands that lie beneath Kahului. They handle stormwater and drainage but they do not go into Kanahā Pond. They bypass Kanahā Pond. On far the left side you can we the channels at the harbor that flow into a remnant wetland. And the large channel on the right side takes water from the Costco area to the mouth of the Kilialanui Stream at Ka’a Point. The Kalialanui Stream comes all the way downhill from Pukalani. The mouth of the Stream is also fed by underground springs and is a perennial body of water.

Kahului Drainage Channels surrounding Kanaha Pond in Kahului.
Kahului Drainage Channels surrounding Kanahā Pond in Kahului.