Why is Brooklyn’s Water Turning Green? Oh, That’s Just Duck Weed. Duck Weed!

Lick it up.

  • Lick it up.

You know how water is supposed to be blue? Or is that the sky? It’s both, I think. But it’s definitely grass that’s supposed to be green.

Well! If you take a look at local bodies of water like the Lake in Prospect Park or the Central Park Reservoir, you will have to check your color wheels because some strange things are going on.

What? You don’t carry a pocket color wheel around with you?

The Brooklyn Paper reports that local park-goers have discovered that the Prospect Park Lake has lost its blue luster and has instead been taken over by plant life that has turned its surface a mottled red and green. And it turns out that this scourge is not limited to Brooklyn. The bastards are taking the whole city by storm. The Central Park Reservoir and the Harlem Meer have also been transformed from blue to a bright-green color.

Why the sudden change? To some degree it’s seasonal. Aquatic plants flourish in the summer heat and because this summer has been incredibly hot and came on the heels of an extra-warm spring, the plants are blooming at an accelerated rate. So, basically, while not a sign of the apocalypse, this is a sign of global warming or climate change or whatever. Which might in turn be a sign of the apocalypse?

Don’t worry about it affecting you, though. None of this is drinking water—not even the reservoir—so it will only have an effect on the aquatic life as the algae tends to consume more than its share of oxygen.

So long aquatic life of Prospect Park! It was nice while it lasted!

In Central Park, the reservoir’s water has been replaced by water shipped in from upstate because apparently Central Park is too good to be infested for long by the azolla caroliniana and duck weed that cover the surface of the Prospect Park Lake.

Oh, hadn’t I mentioned yet that one of the invasive plant species is called “duck weed?” Well, it is. And I kind of love that because when I was a kid and my dad would get all road rage-y and yell at bad drivers, his best insult was to call them dickweeds. Which remains my favorite curse to this very day! Mostly because I’ve never heard anyone else use it but also because I still don’t even know what it means even though I am now an adult who knows lots of things.

So, blossom and grow, duck weed!


  1. Duckweed is an amazing, prolific little plant with a growing fan club because of its 40% protein and ability to remediate waste nutrients from polluted water systems. If your area gardeners net it out, it’s a very effective green mulch or component for compost. It’s also a great feed for hogs, chickens, and certain fish. Go to http://www.InternationalLemnaAssociation.com to be directed to our live conversations on what people around the world are currently doing with it- bioenergy, bioplastics, human food source, enzyme production, etc… http://www.DuckweedGardening.com talks about how to use it in organic gardens. If you eliminate the inputs of waste nutrients, the duckweed will scour your area ponds and you’ll end up with very clean water. (Provided you pull out the duckweed and use it to best advantage.)


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