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News article created on 7 July 2016

Floating green weed on Lancaster Canal

Work is underway to remove a menacing green carpet of weed that is engulfing the Lancaster Canal.

Duckweed on canal Duckweed on canal

We have begun the painstaking task of removing millions of pieces of floating duck weed from the water, which has multiplied in the humid and damp weather, using a specialist weed removal boat.

While an individual piece of duck weed is no bigger than a ladybird, congregated together it 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.

Not harmful to people, but harmful to aquatic wildlife

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. Significantly, if left to thrive, it can cause problems for other aquatic wildlife by starving it of oxygen and sunlight.

The Trust is asking people to take care when out walking with dogs and with their families, and reminding people to take their litter home with them or use bins provided.

Roy Gibbons, Canal & River Trust waterway supervisor, said: “The Lancaster Canal is really busy and popular at this time of year. The weed isn’t harmful to people, but it does spoil the beauty of the canal. With the weather like it is, no sooner have we cleaned a section, than more has floated in.  We’ve got contractors in to help the removal using a boat that has special cutting equipment so we’re confident of getting rid of the majority before it gets any worse.”