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County koi come home to War Memorial Pond at Kalakaua Park

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Photography by Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7

By Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7

After about a month of being cared for by UH-Hilo aquaculture staff and students the koi from War Memorial Pond at Kalakaua Park were brought back to a much cleaner home Thursday (May 17).

The 50,000 gallon pond was built in 1948 as a memorial for service members killed during World War II and also has plaques to recognize Korean and Vietnam War veterans who gave their lives.

The pond sits on the makai side of Kalakaua Park in downtown Hilo and had not been cleaned out for 23 years resulting in silt building up so high on the Waianuenue Avenue end that it reached the level of the water’s surface. The murky pond was overdue for a cleaning so the University of Hawaii Center for Sustainable Aquaculture stepped in to help catch and hold the koi, tilapia, Jack Dempsey fish and barbs while the Big Island Watergarden Club took care of the water lilies for the pond.

Crews from the county, B&B Pumping, GW Construction used a bobcat along with manpower to remove what was described as a ‘soup’ of silt, organic matter, broken glass, trash and other items. The State Department of Health worked with the county’s Department of Environmental Management to dispose of the material removed. Crews and volunteers cleaned the pond, repaired a few things, refilled it with water, and tested the water quality before bringing the fish back home.

The 18 Koi are the first of the fish to be returned to the pond. Other fish will be returned later. The pond renovation will be formally dedicated and blessed in June.

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