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History of the Wetland

This privately-owned wetland was created in 1995 to provide habitat for native Hawaiian waterbirds as well as migratory birds such as the Golden Plover. Ongoing work in the wetland includes removing invasive plants, enhancing nesting and feeding areas, and keeping the waterways open.

The cleared bare dirt areas of the islands provide nesting and foraging areas for stilts. The thicker vegetation on the islands provide cover for the shy gallinule. Look for coots feeding and nesting in the grassy edges of the islands.

The wetland is made up of three main islands. Moku 'Ekahi, the island directly in front of you, is favored by stilts and coots. Moku 'Elua is the middle island. Stilts can often be seen in the water between 'Ekahi and 'Elua. The farthest (north) island is Moku 'Ekolu. Dozens of coots can often be seen feeding in the shallow waters of the lake near this island.

Before development of the Enchanted Lake subdivision in the 1960s, Ka'elepulu Pond covered nearly 190 acres with an additional marsh area of 90 acres. With the development, the pond was renamed Enchanted Lake and reduced to 79 acres. In 1966, a flood control project permanently diverted the thousands of gallons of fresh water that once flowed daily into Ka'elepulu Pond from Kawainui Marsh. Pollution from storm drains and silt that flows into the lake from exposed dirt at construction sites and unplanted yards continues to take its toll on the lake.

Fish found in this brackish water lake include milkfish, mullet, barracuda and tilapia.

New Owners

Hugo de Vries and Cindy Turner purchased the 16-acre property on Enchanted Lake which includes the nearly 6-acre Ka'elepulu Wetland in August 2004.

Years of sporadic maintenance from the previous owners of the wetland had allowed many invasive species to grow on the wetland islands. In the first 3 months of their ownership, Hugo and Cindy have begun to make a visible difference to the wetland. More than 500 mangrove plants have been pulled and over 25 truckloads of invasive plants have been removed from the wetland and taken to the greenwaste recycling facility.

The ongoing work will focus on creating more mudflat areas to increase feeding and nesting habitat for the Hawaiian Stilt. Our immediate agenda is to completely remove all the Haole Koa, Pluchea and California Grass from the islands. Once the invasive species are gone, we'll start planting native Hawaiian wetland plants to replace areas that are now covered with Batis.

Our goal for Ka'elepulu is to create a healthy wetland where Hawaii's endangered wetland bird population will be able to continually increase.


Help us keep Ka'elepulu Wetland healthy

• Do take time to enjoy the birds
• Do take pictures
• Don’t disturb the birds or go beyond the fenced areas
• Don’t let pet dogs or cats harass the birds
• Don’t feed the ducks or geese – this can cause increases in the duck and goose populations which crowd out the endangered native waterbirds

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