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
Train to be part of our citizen science Eel Force to take part in organised barrier walkover surveys on the lower Kennet and Pang.

Schools and wider community outreach
Innovative school Eel workshops and assemblies

Eel riverbank walks/talks and workshops.

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 back over the coming months to see what events, training opportunities for volunteers and eely exciting children's educational resources we are offering.

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