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Should the National Park Service Drain the Capitol Reflecting Pool to Save Birds?


During the warm summer months the Capitol Reflecting Pool in Washington can turn deadly for ducks, as its soupy waters harbor avian botulism. Photo by[url=]tape] via flickr.

If you were a duck flying over Washington, D.C., you just might think the Capitol Reflecting Pool would be a pretty good place to splash down upon to give your weary wings a break. Unfortunately, it seems as if that murky pool of water has turned into a deadly disease-carrying environment for waterfowl.

So deadly has the pool become -- more than 40 ducks have died there in the past two weeks due to avian botulism -- that it's been suggested that the National Park Service drain the pool during the warm summer months when conditions for the disease are ripe.

"The least expensive route for the taxpayer would be to simply drain those pools during the summer months and fill them throughout the rest of the year," Park Service spokesman Bill Line told the Washington Examiner. "It's an idea, nothing more than that. No decision has been made whatsoever."

Draining the reflecting pool would be the simplest and least costly solution. A more technical and expensive approach would be to install a recycling system. No decision has been made yet.

The same problem does not seem to be occurring nearby at the Reflecting Pool that shimmers beneath the Washington Monument.


No doubt an easy choice - you can have a pool with dead birds and tourists getting sick from sticking their hands in the pool, making the pool an ugly sight - or you can have an ugly empty pool but no one getting sick.

On the other hand, maybe it would give the Capitol Police something better to do than harass people.

Any word on why the pool is so polluted? Does it have anything to do with the fact that a freeway (I-395) runs under it?

Jim Macdonald
The Magic of Yellowstone
Yellowstone Newspaper
Jim's Eclectic World

I think it is a no brainer - drain the pool! Then find a way to recycle the water. I can't believe there is no recycler already. Everyone who has a pool knows that you need to recycle or aerate the water to keep it from becoming stagnant and a breeding ground for mosquitos and bacteria! Here in the Phoenix, AZ area you can be fined for having standing, stagnant water due to the diseases born by mosquitos, like West Nile Disease.

Come on, that's D.C. - facts are overrated, just give it the right spin.

How about a press release "National Park Services provides free botox" Washington, 07/30/2008 The National Park Service provides the residents and visitors of the National Capital with a new service: Get botox for free. Just pick up a dead duck or dig in the mud on the Reflection Pool and extract the valuable botulinum."

Take a walk around the pool sometime and try not stepping in goose guano. It's a sickening experience. I walked with my daughter to tell her about the MLK speech and she asked if it was this stinky back then too.

Come to think of it, Forrest Gump's eventual wife Jenny waded through that pool of water and later died... way before her time. It's true! We must drain the swamp!

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