'Pea soup' cleared from the Lancaster Canal

Published: Wednesday, 09 August 2017

THE hot weather has caused parts of the Lancaster Canal to turn into something resembling pea soup as it encourages the quick growth of duck weed.

Lancaster Canal before work done This is caused by the recent sunshine, with the thick carpet of weed making it impossible for boating, that left Canal & River Trust with no alternative but to get rid of it, which is no easy matter.

Multiplies rapidly

The weed multiplies rapidly in the heat, with a mile long section on the Lancaster Canal, between Hollinshead Fold Bridge and Ashton Basin being particularly badly affected, and bringing boat movement to a halt.

While an individual piece of duck weed is no bigger than a ladybird, congregated together they can resemble a thick carpet across the canal, that prevents passage. Over the past few weeks it has been estimated that over 70 tonnes of duck weed per week has been removed.

Report sightings

Team at work on Lancaster CanalThe Trust is asking people to get in touch via their website or social media channels to report sightings of duck weed, with  Diane Rollin, Ecologist for the Canal & River Trust explaining:

“Duck weed is really noticeable across our canals at the moment. It’s been flourishing in the warmer weather and sunshine. 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, so please get in touch if you spot areas along your local river or canal that look particularly bad.

Lancaster Canal after work done “We’re asked what it is all the time. Some people describe it as 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. I see plenty of ducks tucking into it, so I guess it could be the next super food craze.

"But in all seriousness, hopefully nobody would be foolish enough to eat it from the canals!”

Pictures by Canal & River Trust, the final one showing the canal cleared of the duck weed.