Thames Catchment Community Eels Project

Thames Catchment Community Eels Project

One of the first environmental projects awarded a grant from the government’s £80 million Green Recovery Challenge Fund.


ARK are working on this project in partnership with Thames Rivers TrustSouth East Rivers Trust and Thames21 to help the long-term survival of the European eel.

The rivers in the Thames catchment (including the Kennet and the Pang) have an immense natural and cultural heritage. The eel was once common, yet is now critically endangered.

Working closely with the Zoological Society of London and Thames Estuary Partnership we are developing a standard methodology for citizen science eel barrier walkover surveys that will enable trained volunteers to assess and map barriers to eel migration. This information will allow strategic prioritisation for future eel projects.

For eels to fulfil their complex life cycle they need to be able to freely move up and down river systems before returning to the Sargasso Sea to spawn.

The project has a variety of ways for the public to get involved, including:

Volunteering opportunities
We've trained volunteers to use ObstacEELS, a new citizen science methodology identifying barriers to eel migration on the Kennet and the Pang. The up to date data will help us prioritise where to carry out practical barrer easement for eels. To see our map and the latest data click here.

Schools and wider community outreach
Innovative school Eel workshops and assemblies 

We are currently seeking schools in the middle and lower Kennet and the Pang, who would like us to deliver our exciting Eel Assembly or  classroom Eel Workshop. These educational and fun activities are free, so please do get in touch!

Eel riverbank walks/talks and workshops

Contact us if you are a community group and would enjoy a speaker to give a talk about the critically endangered and fascinating European eel.  Whether you are a youth group, a U3A, a mental health organisation, a gardening club or another group we'd love to hear from you.

Wherever possible we will be getting communities outdoors and connecting with nature, in or by their local rivers (where eels spend the majority of their lives).

*The delivery methods for our outreach will adapt as we navigate the evolving COVID-19 pandemic.
Check out our Events page for volunteering opportunities with this project or email

We are delivering this project between December 2020 and March 2022. If you would like further information on this project, email:

Eely’s Unbeli-eel-vable Adventure

Play our fantastic game and follow the life cycle of a European eel.

Help Eely on an epic migration from the Sargasso Sea to reach healthy river habitats in the River Thames and its tributaries.

Click on the picture below to play!