Ronald Reagan once quipped the nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government, and I’m here to help. The ducks that call the Capitol Reflecting Pool in Washington, D.C., home learned recently that joke is all too real.
In May, the Architect of the Capitol, the government office responsible for maintaining the grounds on Capitol Hill, installed “duck ramps” at the Capitol Reflecting Pool to help ducklings in and out of the water.
— U.S. Capitol (@uscapitol) May 15, 2017
The “cute” attraction proved to be popular with both the ducks and humans — well, most of them. U.S. Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) took to Twitter to complain about the ramps, calling them “government waste.”
Walker was criticized and mocked by some for his cranky, anti-duck disposition, but it turns out Walker’s instincts were 100 percent correct and arguably heroic (for the ducks, that is).
National Public Radio reported on Friday about 80 ducks have been killed since May 20 at the nearby Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool because of a water-borne parasite that resides in snails living in pool. Because ducklings are especially susceptible to the parasite, the duck ramps could actually prove to be murderous deathtraps should the same problem occur at the Capitol Reflecting Pool. The U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center says the parasites can’t be killed by chemicals used to treat the pools, which means the Lincoln Reflecting Pool will now have to be drained and cleaned to stop the duckpocolypse before it spreads.
These duck ramps are not only a waste of taxpayer money; they pose a risk to America’s waddling little national treasures! Just another reason why you can’t trust the government to do anything right.
Editor's Note: This story has been edited to reflect that the ducks killed by the parasites were found dead in the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, not the Capitol Reflecting Pool.