National Wildlife Refuge
|Milepost 6, Mokulele Hwy (Hwy 311)
Kihei, HI 96753
Phone Number: 808-875-1582
|Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
Continued . . . Kealia Pond acts as a natural sump within the floodplain of its 56-square-mile watershed. At the turn of the twentieth century, this natural basin was 6 to 8 feet deep, but since then it has filled in with silt-laden runoff from agricultural fields.
Today it averages 1 to 2 feet of brackish water covering 50-400 acres, depending on the season. The great majority of the land surrounding the pond is planted in sugar cane owned by Alexander and Baldwin Co. In summer, the pond often shrinks to less than half its winter size, leaving a crust of pure crystalline salt at its margins. "Kealia" means "the salt-encrusted place," and Hawaiians gathered salt here for centuries.
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