Usually duckweed is seen on the canals during the middle of the summer season. This year its been the first for a very very long time duckweed has extended right into the end of the summer season, its now September and this is one of the thickest carpets of the green stuff so far known!
How green was my canal!
It seems the reason is Canal & River Trust’s (CRT) equipment can’t shift the stuff. Back in July CRT claimed they were waging war on the duckweed:
“The weed isn’t harmful to people, but it does spoil the beauty of the canal. Removing it is a painstaking job for the team because the pieces are tiny and they move as the boat makes its way through the water. It’s like trying to mow a moving lawn. With the weather like it is, no sooner have we cleaned a section, than a new lot has floated in, but we’re confident of getting rid of the majority before it gets any worse.” (CRT News 17 July 2015)
CRT News 17 July 2015
The above screencap of Canal & River Trust’s website shows an old version. Just five months later the site’s look changed completely as ‘the result of an 18-month design and digital transformation project based on in-depth research amongst the charity’s customers and supporters.’
In past times specialist clearing machines (Taranchewer, Lee Mean Clean Machine) were able to shift the stuff quite quickly. This summer it seems CRT is relying upon a motley collection of outdated machinery to clear the stuff and its obvious they can’t manage.
Well the duckweed has got worse! Its not ugly, and it has some advantages – for me at least its great photography and for the ducks its extra food, and as this article on the Wapping waterways shows, its not entirely a bad thing – but it does have some disadvantages which CRT have listed on their website – and I’ll add it does look rather unsightly when mixed with floating rubbish.
One would have thought CRT would have got a grip on it by now but considering by the many photographs I have taken in the past few days clearly they haven’t.
Updated August 2019