Sunday, June 9, 2024

Water is back in the canal

Top of Lock 22 (Pennyfield Lock)

In mid May I was at Great Falls along the C and O canal and noticed that the canal had been re-watered there.  I didn't know how far north they had put water back in the canal.

The canal hasn't had water in it for a few years. I actually don't remember the last time I saw it with more than a trickle of water.  The park service was replacing the locks and doing other canal maintenance all last year, I even posted about it once last year.  In 2018 and 2020 I posted about the canal at Great Falls tavern, but I think some parts of the canal to the north had water at the time.

The canal is at least mostly full between Great Falls and Lock 23 Violett's Lock. That is also the location of Inlet Lock 2, and the canal hasn't had water in it above that spot in my memory.  The water does look low, Above Swains lock it could use another foot or two of water. I'm not sure if it is still in the process of being filled or if this is the new normal.  Some spots, mostly where creeks flow into the canal are shallow enough that you can see the running water.

Islands of plants growing in the water of the canal.

Muskrat swimming in the canal

This is the first time I have ever seen a muskrat in the wild. They look alot like narrow-tailed beavers. This one totally ignored my while it swam, dove, and nibbled on grass.

 I'll also note that I drove on Canal Road on Sunday and the part of the canal near Georgetown still has no water in it.