The National Park Service announced on Friday that the reflecting pool in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial will be drained and cleaned following the death of about 80 duckling from a parasite that grows on snails.
“Chemical treatments can’t kill the parasites and snails, so the Reflecting Pool must be drained and cleaned, according to an NPS statement obtained by the Washington Post,” the Hill reported.
The park service is expected to start draining the pool today and it’s expected to be refilled beginning on June 16.
“The pool draining follows a May project by the Architect of the Capitol, in conjunction with nonprofit City Wildlife, to build a “duck ramp” to help ducklings go in and out of the Capitol’s reflecting pool,” the Hill reported.
Duckling update: The full journey in. pic.twitter.com/dzfuBfbsM2
— U.S. Capitol (@uscapitol) May 19, 2017
The Capitol reflecting pool is located on the opposite end of the National Mall from the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.
It’s not the first time the ducklings have made the news. In 1999 the Los Angeles Times wrote about the death of baby ducks from predators and the demand that the National Park Service do something to help them.
“Baby ducks, born in recent weeks at Constitution Gardens on the Mall, never survived their first swim because predators from the sky and the lake snatched the tiny creatures as fast as they put their webbed feet in the water,” the Times reported.
“A similar fate has befallen nearly every duckling born at Constitution Gardens in the last five years–a stark illustration of nature’s food chain, according to the National Park Service,” the Time reported. “Since mid-March, more than 90 baby ducks have become snacks for the bass and catfish in the 7 1/2-acre lake, as well as for the herons drawn to the area because of the fish. But the duck community is thriving at the nearby and fish-free Reflecting Pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial.”
“As long as there’s not a human cause for the problem, we try to let nature take its course,” said Stephen Lorenzetti, chief of the Division of Resource Management at National Capital Parks Central. “You have some people who want to save the wildlife at all costs, and that would be nice, but part of the goal is to keep the area as natural as we can.”