Hidden behind overgrown California grass and shrubs in between Jameson’s restaurant and the controversial Haleiwa Beach Park Mauka is Loko Ea fishpond, which dates back to the 1600s. Every third Saturday of the month, community members, college students, island visitors and keiki are welcomed into the ancient fishpond to help revive it to its native use.
Loko Ea has provided fish sanctuary and habitat for generations, according to James Estores, one of the founding directors of Malama Loko Ea, a non-profit organization that oversees caretaking the pond since—as community volunteers since 2008 and as an official non-profit in collaboration with Kamehameha Schools since 2009. Loko iʻa, fishponds, are found nowhere else in the Pacific except for the Hawaiian Islands. In ancient times, the pond was owned by various Hawaiian royalty within the ahupua‘a of Kawailoa, and was used to stock fish to be harvested upon request by ali‘i.
As a natural loko pu‘uone, translated literally as “sand dune pond,” Loko Ea is fed by underground freshwater springs and by the ocean across the street that flows in on high tides. Patience, perseverance, and humility are just some of the values that can be learned in caretaking this precious place, says Estores. Volunteer workday activities include invasive plant and animal removal, species identification, native plant reintroduction, water quality monitoring, and traditional fishing demonstrations and workshops. Keiki volunteers are given crayons and educational Hawaiian fish pictures to color. They can also fish for invasive fish species like tilapia in the pond after the volunteer tasks are finished.
Every third Saturday of the month, 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. Work equipment and safety gear provided, lunch provided, open to the public, all ages. Located behind the parking area next to Jameson’s By the Sea restaurant in Haleiwa.