Keālia Pond National Wildlife Refuge
About Keālia Pond
Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge is a 704 acre protected wetland habitat that is a great place for birdwatching, learning, and enjoying Maui’s natural beauty. It’s in the south part of Maui’s central valley, just outside of Kihei, along North Kihei Road (Route 31). But the entrance is from Maui Veterans Highway (Route 311) (formerly called Mokolele Highway), at Milepost 6. A modern 7500-square-foot visitor center with educational exhibits opened here in 2012. Admission is free. Phone 808-875-1582.
Why is Kealia Pond Pink?
As of early November 2023: The pink color of Keālia Pond on Maui is likely due to the growth of a single-celled organism called halobacteria, which are known to thrive in high salinity conditions. The salinity in Keālia Pond has been measured to be greater than 70 parts per thousand, which is twice the salinity of seawater, providing an ideal environment for these organisms. While the exact strain of halobacteria is still being determined through additional analyses, the preliminary assessment indicates that the pink color is not due to toxic algae, such as those that cause red tides. The public has been advised to keep a safe distance from the water, avoid consuming fish from it or from the ocean around it, and prevent pets from playing or drinking the water. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service continues to monitor the situation and will keep the public updated.
Bird Sanctuary at Kealia Pond in Central Maui
Kealia Pond is a small lake that you will notice in the south central valley on any map of Maui. It is so shallow that its size varies tremendously depending on recent rainfall. In the rainy season (winter) the pond occupies 400 acres, but in the dry season (summer) it shrinks to 200 acres.
Some of the 30 species of shorebirds, waterfowl, and migratory ducks you may see here are the Black-crowned Night Heron, Hawaiian Stilt, Hawaiian Coot, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Egret, and Pacific Golden Plover. You can spot those and other birds at both the main wildlife refuge described above and along the nearby coastal boardwalk.
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Kealia Pond Wildlife Refuge
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