Tonnes of duck weed removed from Lancaster Canal

The team at work on Lancaster Canal.
The team at work on Lancaster Canal.

A layer of weed described as ‘green porridge’ has invaded Lancaster Canal posing a threat to wildlife.

Hot weather has caused duck weed, flowering aquatic plants, to rapidly spread across the waterways.

Lancaster Canal before the duck weed was removed.

Lancaster Canal before the duck weed was removed.

The Canal & River Trust – the charity that cares for the nation’s canals – has begun the task of removing millions of pieces of floating duck weed from the water, over 70 tonnes per week.

“We’re asked what it is all the time,” said Diane Rollin, ecologist for the Canal & River Trust.

“Some people describe it like a garden lawn, pea soup, or even green porridge!

“The food references are interesting though, as we found that people in South East Asia regularly eat duck weed because it contains lots of protein.”

Lancaster Canal after the duck weed was removed.

Lancaster Canal after the duck weed was removed.

The trust has already cleared a mile-long section on the Lancaster Canal, between Hollinshead Fold Bridge and Ashton Basin.

While an individual piece of duck weed is no bigger than a ladybird, congregated together they can resemble a thick carpet across the canal.

This accumulates litter, which can be problematic for the hundreds of boats and leisure craft on the water. 
The trust is asking people to get in touch via their website or social media channels with sightings of duck weed.

“The weed is not harmful to people, but dogs and other animals have been known to mistake it for grass and ended up in the water,” said Diane.

“Significantly, if left to thrive, it can cause problems for other aquatic wildlife by starving it of oxygen and sunlight, so please get in touch if you spot areas along your local river or canal that look particularly bad.” For more visit https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/.