Brayford freed from moss phenomenon

The Brayford Pool has finally been freed of a mysterious murky moss-like carpet that had stretched over the southern end of the water.

A brown mossy substance appeared on the surface of the water last Friday morning and was still holding strong, making life difficult for wildlife. 

Swans have found it difficult swimming through the moss

Swans have found it difficult swimming through the moss (Photo: Danielle Hoe)

However, overnight the moss has disappeared leaving the Brayford wildlife free to swim around.

Swans and moorhens have had to battle through the murk in order to get out of the water and rubbish was also floating on the surface of the moss.

However, the Environment Agency states that it is completely harmless to wildlife and is very common.

Dr Chris Extence, from the analysis and reporting team at the Environment Agency, said: “The substance making an appearance on the Brayford is called Azolla filiculoides – more commonly known (and easier to pronounce) as Fairy Moss!”

“The good news is that it is fairly common and completely harmless, in fact some garden centres even sell it as pond decoration. The fact that it has chosen to decorate the Brayford for us doesn’t pose any concerns for water quality, nor for swans who may even choose to safely eat it.”

Brayford moss

The so-called Fairy Moss covered the south of the Brayford Pool (Photo: Danielle Hoe)

“Mainly green, it tends to add a redder colour when temperatures get a little colder, so you could say its nature’s own autumnal painting.

“It’s an invasive species but not a pollution so there’s no action to be taken and it will disperse in its own time.”

Dr Extence did warn however that the only risk it could cause is for people to mistake it for a solid surface to walk on.

“We would warn is that it can falsely appear quite solid,” he said. “It can reduce light levels from beneath it, especially if stretching from bank to bank, so we’d strongly advise that no adults or children attempt to enter the water and walk on it.”

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