March 2013 News

ELRA e-newsletter
Issue 8
March 2013
Photo of Enchanted Lake
Barge for Sale to the Highest Bidder

ELRA was given a lake barge and we have decided it is time to part with it as it is no longer needed for the lake cleanups. Call Bob Bourke for more information or to arrange a showing. 256-2057.

Floating masses of algae cover the lake in this recent photo.

Cooperation needed for a healthier lake  

Kaelepulu Pond has suffered this winter from a combination of low rainfall, poor ocean exchange, and nutrient load left over from the Delta Construction pollution events in 2011.  Poor exchange is a result of low rainfall this winter and stream mouth openings that have not been timed to work with the tides.  To get the best water exchange, the ELRA recommended that the City open the berm on the following days this year:

  1. January 8, 9, AM
  2. February 5, 6, AM
  3. March 4, 5, AM
  4. April 1, 2, AM
  5. May 7, 8, AM
  6. June 5, 6, AM
  7. July 9, 10, AM
  8. August 5, 6, AM
  9. September 10, 11, PM
  10. October 8, 9, PM
  11. November 4, 5, AM
  12. December 2, 3, AM

The City opened the canal on January 29, after the first of only two decent rainfalls of the year lifted the lake up to an elevation of about 2.4 feet (~1.5 ft is normal, 3.3 ft is flood stage).  Because of poor high tides and strong winds, the stream only stayed open for a little more than one day. This poorly timed opening drained the lake to below its normal level with almost no inflow from the ocean.

After working for two weeks dredging the stream above and below the Lanikai Bridge, the City crews opened the stream mouth on February 27, again during a period of poor high tides, and the pond elevation fell from 1.5 ft to about 1.3 feet, with the stream mouth closing in less than a day, again with almost no inflow of ocean water.

On Sunday, as this is being written, we are receiving rain from only the second winter storm this year.  About 2-inches of rain has raised the elevation of the lake from 1.25 feet to about 1.75 feet.  This shows a pretty typical 3 inches of lake rise for every inch of rainfall.  Although runoff from the watershed has been significant there does not appear to be any plumes of muddy water entering the lake.    Unless we receive additional significant rainfall and/or the City begins opening the stream mouth on a schedule that promotes better exchange, we are likely to have a spring and summer similar to the last two years, with excessive algae growth and the threat of fish die-offs.

Pray for rain and cooperation from the city!

Ocean Pesto Olakai finds a use for algae

Enchanted Lake has had several visits from some enterprising farmers. Each time they spend hours harvesting a particular kind of algae that they, in turn, use as fertilizer for their crop of Sea Asparagus. You can find Olakai’s Sea Asparagus line of products at local markets. The Ocean Pesto is particularly good!


Dredging underway at the Kailua Beach Park Bridge.


Dredging done – a mountain of sand remains.



Dredging by Buzz’s has media buzzing, Kailua residents confused

Several recent local T.V. news reports have covered dredging and excavation work being conducted by City and County at the mouth of Kaelepulu Stream, bringing attention to issues important to lake and stream residents, but also causing some confusion in the community.

Many local residents have noted the recent dredging of Kaelepulu Stream on the mauka side of the bridge next to Buzz’s restaurant, and it would indeed be hard to miss the resulting massive pile of grey sand along Kailua Road.

In a February 12 news story, KHON covered this dredging project as though it was designed to alleviate the recent algae blooms on Kaelepulu Pond.

ELRA was not involved in or consulted with on this project. However, in the report, Ross Sasamura, the City and County of Honolulu’s director of facilities maintenance, noted that improved water flow through the stream was one of the motivations for the sand removal.

On February 22 another station, KITV, featured this dredging project as its lead story, interviewing some residents who expressed health and safety concerns about the sand pile.

In the report, KITV pointed out that the dredging project on the mauka side of the bridge was separate from the regular Kaelepulu stream mouth openings, and that the sand removed from the stream would not be placed on the beach, but would be removed when dry and potentially used by the City as fill material.

On February 28 KITV aired another report, this time on the regular stream mouth opening.

The report noted the large banks of sand that have been built up on the makai side of the bridge by City and County earth moving equipment conducting stream mouth openings over the past several months. The report also discussed how regular sand removal from the stream mouth may help to provide a source of beach replenishment for sand lost to coastal erosion.

From ELRA’s perspective, any new attention from the City and the local media on improved stream flow is a positive development. ELRA leadership met this week with Director Sasamura, who was recently appointed to the position by Mayor Caldwell, to introduce him to our organization and our specific concerns, such as the importance of the regular stream mouth openings occurring at the optimal times to promote water exchange with the pond.

While time will tell if the mauka dredging project achieves its desired aims, ELRA hopes to work closely with the Department of Facilities Maintenance and the Caldwell administration in addressing the issues confronting the lake, stream and beach environments.

The Enchanted Lake Residents Association (ELRA) is a non-profit organization that holds title to and manages a 79.471 acre portion of Kaelepulu Pond, also known as Enchanted Lake.

The board of the ELRA has taken a pro-active role in the management of the pond, with the ultimate goal of restoring Kaelepulu to support diverse fisheries resources and recreational activities in clean water.


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In this Issue

Lake Health
Dredging at Beach Park


Quick Links

 ELRA Website

Lake History

Lake Watch Phone



5 Tips for Keeping Our Lake Clean 


1. Keep sidewalks, curbs, and gutters clean.

2. Prevent soil and debris from leaving your property.

3. Gather grass clippings, fallen leaves, shrub trimmings
and fruits, and dispose as green waste, or compost
your yard trimmings

4. If you change your own oil, use an oil change box.
The best practice is to have your oil changed by a shop
that recycles their waste oil.

5. Remove and dispose of pet waste in your yard daily.