In case you are wondering - there is some peace in Washington DC. The Capitol building sits in a 58 acre park of tall trees and green grass surrounded by a low stone wall. The park was originally designed by Felix Law Olmstead who designed the grounds around the National Cathedral and Central Park in New York City.
At the base of Jenkins Hill (where the Capitol building sits) looking toward the mall is a large reflecting pool which is part of the Union Square. The pool is over six acres in size and provides a welcome break to tourists in the heat of the Washington summer.
Capitol Reflecting Pool is also a favorite hang out for the ducks of D.C. The Architect of the Capitol (AOC) just made it even more desirable. Two ramps installed Monday are designed to assist the quacking members of the Capitol Hill community get in and out of the water. “Some ducklings have trouble climbing out of the pool or returning to it once out of the water,” AOC spokeswoman Erin Courtney wrote in a blog post, citing as cause the “broad gently sloped limestone coping of the pool.” - See more here.
Anne Lewis, the president of City Wildlife, said a ramp could be the difference between life and death for the ducklings. “Ducklings get into the water — often helped there by visitors — and then can’t get out because of the high curb at the water’s edge,” she said in an email. “They will drown from exhaustion or die of starvation unless they have a way to get out of the water.”
The duck ramps are painted bright white and say "Duck Ramp" and "Please do not feed the ducks." I didn't know that ducks know how to read, but I guess they do! It is unclear whether pigeons and squirrels are offended by the special treatment accorded to ducks.
However.... Congressman Mark Walker from North Carolina - eagle eye for government waste - has expressed his disapproval of this government waste! Good to know that someone is looking out for us.
The Architect of the Capitol consulted City Wildlife, a non-profit that rehabilitates animals in DC, to build the two ramps. It then did what any good planners would: convened a charrette to figure out the best design for DC’s feathered friends. The ramps were then built by employees of the Architect's office.