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Midtown park has dirty water

By Lauren Maxwell Photojournalist: Jared Mazurek - 5:36 PM August 5, 2014

A favorite midtown park where office workers like to take their lunch breaks and families come to feed the ducks may have some of the dirtiest water around.

That’s what the Anchorage Waterways Council says about the duck ponds at the Cuddy Family Park behind the Loussac Library.

Council researcher Thom Eley tests the waters regularly and said they contain some of the highest levels of fecal coliform in town. So high, he said, it’s unsafe for people and their pets to get too close.

“It’s just excessive,” said Eley, gesturing toward his latest sample results. “ If you have people playing, dogs drinking the water, it’s just not a good thing.”

Eley blames too many birds and the people who encourage them to gather at the park by feeding them year round. The former wildlife biologist said he suspects a steady diet of bread is no good for the animal’s health either.

The state Department of Fish and Game isn’t so sure that ducks in the park are only eating bread, or that their diets are causing any health problems. In order to find out, they plan to capture several ducks this winter and take blood and other samples to analyze. They hope the results will tell them more about the animal’s habits and their health.

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