Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) caused an upset on social media this week after claiming the duck ramps – placed at the U.S. Capitol Reflecting Pool in Washington, D.C. to help ducklings get in and out of the water – were a typical example of government waste. The ramps had been placed in areas where the concrete barrier prevented ducklings from safely getting out of the water.

Mallard ducks visit the U.S. Capitol Reflecting Pool each spring

According to a statement by the Architect of the U.S. Capitol, every spring, mallard duck families return to the pool in Union Square.

The ducks have reportedly made the pool their home in what they describe as an “oasis in the urban jungle” that is Washington, D.C. The birds are popular with visitors to the U.S. Capitol and at present there are four broods of ducks living in the pool, including several recently hatched ducklings. They placed the two duck ramps in the pool as part of their collaboration with City Wildlife, a local non-profit organization, on May 15.

Without the duck ramps, ducklings could die

The President of City Wildlife told the New York Times that without these ramps, the ducklings could likely die. Anne Lewis said the ducklings are often helped into the water by visitors, but have a problem getting out again due to the high concrete curb at the edge of the water.

According to Lewis the ducklings would either “drown from exhaustion,” trying to get out, or would die of starvation. This is why they made a plan to give the ducklings a way to get safely out of the water by installing the two new duck ramps.

Lewis went on to explain to the Architect of the Capitol that ducks have the uncanny ability to find a way out of the water, as long as one is provided to them.

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While she says they can never truly predict the ducks’ behavior, their goal is to provide them a means to get into the water, and safely out again, leaving the rest of their lives up to the ducks themselves. She said they have pretty good instincts, especially when there are ducklings involved.

So far, it looks like the new duck ramps are working well, with many taking to social media to exclaim about the ramps and the cuteness of the ducklings.

Twitter storm caused by Republican lawmaker over duck ramps

However, Rep. Walker doesn’t see the benefits or cuteness involved in the duck ramps and while it isn’t clear how much it cost to install them, Walker headed to Twitter to say they are a waste.

Since Walker posted his message about the duck ramps, there have been some 2,500 replies and a few gems are included below.