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City Project May Peril Fishpond

By  Helen Altonn Star-Bulletin Writer

Honolulu Star-Bulletin. 

Wed July 8,1970.

"NORMALLY, we would have issued a permit without much to-do. But it's the Hanauma Bay thing all over again." (The City began beach improvements at Hanauma Bay last April without going through the permit procedures.) The State Transportation Department received an application for the Kahaluu work June 28, and it probably will be approved, a department spokesman said today. He said a Harbor Division engineer said it was his understanding that Dr. Yap's fishpond would be filled, at his request, with the silt. But this falls under the jurisdiction of the Land Department, he said. State Land Chairman Sunao Kido went to the site yesterday, after the Land Department received a letter from the City saying the work was started "inadvertently" without a permit.

"I UNDERSTAND the City has been dredging the river mouth to fill the pond," Kido said. If this is so, he said, it would constitute a separate application because it is used within a conservation district, "In both cases we will issue a cease and desist (order), if it hasn't been done already, until a permit can be obtained. Kido declined to say whether the department would allow any filling of the pond. He said the agency's archaeologist has been sent to the area to determine the historic values.  The fill operation appeared to be confined to the perimeter of the fishpond on Monday.

TWO ROAD DIVISION officials were at the scene with Dr. Yap and denied any intention to fill the pond. H. S. Rodrigues, superintendent of the road maintenance, said the material could not be hauled away "because it is muddy and we would get pinched if we took it out on the road. "We plan to let it dry out and then haul it away," he said. He said the project is costing $18,000 to $20,000. "If we have to haul it to the Kapaa Dump, it could cost $60,000 to $70,000," added Maurice Naito, a supervisor in the road maintenance division. “Ecology,” He commented, "We have more important things to worry about. “Yap was asked several questions: "How long have you owned the fishpond?" "Do you know anything about its history?" "What do you plan to do with it?" His reply repeatedly was, "No comment." 

Joe Harper of Hui Ko'olau, a Kahaluu community organization, said the community will oppose any plan to fill in the pond for a resort development.  "It's been my understanding, in consultation with the property owner, that he plans to develop it along lines compatible with conservation - an open Polynesian kind of development," Harper said.

Fishponds Recall Culture of Hawaii

Fishponds represented a substantial segment of Hawaii's early economy as a form of sea tillage requiring the labor of hundreds of persons. They illustrate the highly, advanced culture of ancient Hawaii, according to historical information compiled by archaeologists at the State Parks Division. "Kahouna" is the real name of the Kahaluu Fishpond "a nicely preserved reminder of Hawaii culture," they said. It was in actual operation for fish harvesting until at least 1960, they reported.

There are 97 fishponds recorded for Oahu. But only four exist which archaeologists say, "are still visible to the public, undamaged beyond repair and relatively unaltered in setting by urban development."

The four are the Kahaluu pond, Heeia Fishpond in Kaneohe Bay, Moli'i Fishpond by Chinaman's Hat and Huilua Fishpond at Kahana Bay.

"The remainder of these once prominent reminders of Hawaiian culture have been destroyed, covered with dense exotic vegetation, or exist in surroundings so foreign that they may as well be destroyed," the archaeologists said.


Fishpond Silt Dump Denied




Thursday, July 9, 1970



City officials admitted yesterday that they began a flood control project at Kahaluu Stream without obtaining the necessary permits, but they denied that they "ever had any intention of dumping silt into the adjacent Kahaluu Fishpond.”

Reacting with surprise to a news story (Star-Bulletin) which said the City was dredging the stream with the intention of dumping the excavated material in the fishpond, Acting Chief Engineer Larry Fruto said: “IT HAS NEVER been our intention, nor is it now, to fill in the fishpond. I think that people have seriously misinterpreted what we’re doing.”  Fruto said the City's Kahaluu project was designed to excavate the materials, which had accumulated at the mouth of the stream since it was last, cleaned out in 1957. Fruto, acknowledged that the City had constructed a causeway into the stream and said the City had dumped some of the newly dredged silt by the side of the fishpond. But Fruto said that these were only "temporary measures."

"THE CAUSEWAY WAS put up temporarily so that we could get our crane over parts of the stream which we couldn't reach from the shore," he said.  "The silt which we dredged up was, a very wet, muddy material which could not be immediately hauled away. Thus, we got a permit from Dr. Raymond Yap, the owner of the fishpond, to leave the silt on the mauka side of the pond until it dried.  "The material is half water and half dirt so we hoped the water would drip back into the pond. After the material dried, we would go and pick it up and take it away to low lying areas that need the fill."

FRUTO ADMITTED that the City had failed to get necessary permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the State Department of Land and Natural Resources, and the State Harbors Division. He said that the City did not seek the permits because it had been doing similar work in "many other areas without ever being cited before."  "We clean a lot of streams during the summer months," Fruto said. "We do this in order to prevent flooding during the rainy months of the year. We clean sandbars at beaches, too, without applying for permits.

"AS A MATTER of fact, we clean some streams every week. At Kahaluu, we've found cars, ranges and stoves, which have piled up since the 1965 flood. If we hadn't cleaned it up, we might-have had flooding this winter."

The City also ran into trouble with State and Federal agencies when it started a project at Hanauma Bay in April without getting the necessary permits.  Why didn't the City learn from that experience? Fruto said, "Hanauma Bay was a construction project -a one time thing, but Kahaluu was part of a continuous maintenance job. We thought that it was different.

"HOWEVER, WHEN the Harbors Division told us of our mistake in late June, we did ask for the permits. "We're going to ask for a blanket permit now to do our maintenance jobs in order to prevent any more trouble in the future. We can't ask for a permit each time that we do one of our many maintenance jobs."


Critic Cites Mud Damage to Fishpond

by  Helen Altonn Star-Bulletin Writer

Honolulu Star-Bulletin

Friday, July 10,1970

Whether it was intentional or not, the City has damaged Kahaluu Fishpond by dumping silt on the banks from Kahaluu Stream, Stell Newman, in charge of the Statewide survey of historic sites, said today. The State Department of Land and Natural Resources ordered the City to stop a flood control project at Kahaluu Stream this week after learning that it failed to obtain the necessary permits from State and federal agencies.  It was feared that the pond - in a conservation district administered by the land agency - might be endangered by fill material dredged from the mouth of the stream.  The City has denied any intention to fill the pond. Its owner, Dr. Raymond Yap, has tried in the past to develop the area for resort, commercial and residential use.

"THERE IS no doubt that Kahaluu stream needs dredging to prevent winter flooding, but there is also no excuse for dumping dredged mud onto an important historic site," said Newman, chairman of the Historic Sites Committee of the Conservation Council for Hawaii. Newman referred to a statement by Larry Fruto, acting chief engineer and director of public works for the City, who said the dredged materials were to be stored on the pond banks until dry and then would be hauled away to fill low areas elsewhere.  "There are two problems by these plans," Newman said. "By dumping dredged in materials on the fishpond banks the City and County is damaging the fishpond, and our knowledge and appreciation for our Hawaiian heritage.”

A FISHPOND is more than a water area enclosed by a wall. It also includes the shoreline. Even if the water area is not filled or the wall damaged, the deposit of hundreds of cubic yards of mud along the shoreline of the fishpond most definitely damages this historic site. "Any traces of the fishpond keeper's house or other old remains that might have been along the shore are now under tons of fill. If this fill is removed, there is a danger of damaging anything lying below the original ground level. "Thus the statement that the City and County has no intention of filling in the fishpond is meaningless, for the shoreline has now been filled in - and it is an integral part of the fishpond." The other problem results from the City's expectation that the water from the muddy silt would drip back into the pond, Newman continued.

"SURELY AN engineer such as Mr. Fruto knows that material piled on the fishpond bank that is 'half water and half dirt' will merely drain the water into the pond, but also part of the dirt. "The mere placement of this mud on the bank of the pond will result in some silting in the fishpond. If a major rain occurs, then there could well be a major silting of the pond as this loose material erodes."

Newman noted that City Road Division officials quoted two prices for the project in a Star-Bulletin story Wednesday revealing the lack of permits. They said the flood control work is costing $18,000 to $20,000 with the materials left on Dr. Yap's property, but would cost $60,000 to $70,000 if the silt had to be hauled away to Kapa'a dump.

THIS SEEMS to indicate that there was some thought at least to leaving the dredged materials on be bank permanently - otherwise why quote two project cost figures?" Newman commented. He said the solution providing the maximum protection for the site would be "to stop dumping additional mud on the pond bank, and immediately and very carefully remove the material already deposited there."


Kaneohe Outdoor Circle Pleads for Preservation of Fishponds

By  Helen Altonn, Star-Bu11etin Writer

Honolulu Star-Bulletin

Monday, July 13, 1970

The Kaneohe Outdoor Circle has written to the Governor and to State land officials urging preservation of Oahu's four remaining Hawaiian fishponds as historical sites. Mrs. Benjamin R. Fleming Sr., Circle president, said Windward Oahu residents are concerned about proposed plans for piecemeal development of shoreline properties of Kaneohe Bay.


"The Heeia Kea Fish Pond, owned by the Bishop Estate and leased to Inland Marine Development Company Inc., and the Kahouna Pond in Kahalu'u, owned by Dr. Raymond Yap, are in danger of becoming either planned development concepts or resort developments, " she said in the letter. "Either one could result in high-rise buildings in the fishpond areas."


THE ISSUE will be discussed at a meeting of the Kaneohe Community Council concerning the development of the Kaneohe Bay shoreline Wednesday night.  The last Legislature appropriated $500,000 for planning of the area with the responsibility resting with the State Harbors Division. Mrs. Fleming said there is also a previous $50,000 appropriation. “We feel the money should be used right away and we want to have a part in the planning," she said. "We are trying very hard to preserve the few remaining fishponds that we have and to save some part of the shoreline for public use."


SHE SAID THE Outdoor Circle had two treatises prepared "with layman's ideas on what the shoreline development should be.” One was on Hawaii's fishponds by Donald D. Mitchell, member of the Bishop Museum Association and the University of Hawaii Committee on the Preservation of Hawaiian Culture. He is also on the staff of the Kamehameha Schools. Mitchell said in his treatise, "The most unique of the fishery resources in Hawaii are the fishponds along the shores. They are distinctive Hawaiian structures not found in other Pacific Islands.” "Some of these structures are so old that their construction is credited to the mythical Menehune."

He said a survey in 1900 listed some 210 shore Ponds for Hawaii with 97,on Oahu. A study in 1960 listed only six ponds in use on Oahu, four in Kaneohe Bay. The four are the only ones in relatively good condition.


THE HEEIA POND is the most accessible, he said. "The mullet and milkfish from this pond fed the household of the chief s in the Heeia district." The other remaining ponds on Kaneohe Bay are the Kahalu'u pond, the Waikalua Pond and the Mokolii on Molii Pond of Hakipuu-Kualoa- fishponds," Mitchell said.  "Efforts must be made and now to save the few that remain. Some can be repaired - restocked to provide a profiting examples of these able ventures.”


From Letters to the Editor:  Kahalu'u Fill

SIR: The story (Star-Bulletin July 8) about the Kahalu'u fishpond is another of many examples of attempted cover-ups of the destruction of Hawaii's ancient treasures. Today for the first time in weeks, including weekends and holidays, the pile-driver-like sounds of dump trucks ridding themselves of the last vestiges of the sludge being dredged up from the mouth of the river and dumped into the fishpond, has been stilled.


Several residents of Kahalu'u have been watching this process with mounting dismay and when one of us tried to find out from the State Soil and Conservation Department and the City Planning Department why this was being done and who had authorized the work, no one could or would give out any information. It seems a curious coincidence that "an executive officer of the Corps of Engineers who happened to be flying over the area by helicopter" discovered the work was going on.


Even if filling in the fishpond was a desirable aim, which it definitely is not, filling it with this polluted sludge would not be the answer. As for the quote from Maurice Naito, a supervisor in the road maintenance division: "Ecology ... we have more important things to worry about," where does the City find men of such superior qualifications?