Citizen Scientists help save the European eel

In 2011, in order to expand ZSL’s eel monitoring programme we began to enlist the help of volunteers and partnership organisations. ZSL now works with fourteen partnership organisations and, to date, has trained over 350 volunteers to become eel monitoring citizen scientists.

The project has become the largest and most wide-ranging study on eel migration through a single catchment in the UK. The information from the study not only allows us to refine eel pass prioritisation by highlighting barriers to upstream migration, it also provides a unique insight into the numbers of elvers entering the Thames region each year that has value at a national scale. 

ZSL Citizen Scientists with eels on the River Brent in 2014
ZSL Citizen Scientists with eels on the River Brent in 2014

A new phase for the our citizen science eel project

In 2013 ZSL started to move to a new phase of the citizen science eel project. Basing our site selection on interpretation of the data collected over previous year’s eel monitoring. We have started working with our citizen science partners to make physical improvements to rivers to facilitate the upstream migration of eels. In 2013 two new passes were installed, one on the River Darent and the other on the Hogsmill River (led by the South East Rivers Trust). On the Hogsmill, soon after the pass was installed, we were delighted to have trapped elvers for the first time just upstream of it. In 2014 with thanks to the SITA Trust new eel passes are being built on the Rivers Crane, Brent and Mole.

Come and join us

Monitoring starts in April and finishes at the end of September. We are always looking for new volunteers and new partner organisations to join this project. If you would like to help please contact:

Thank you!

To our Funders the Sita Trust

sita trust logo

We would also like to thank all of our citizen scientists for their time diligently checking eel traps come rain or shine.

We'd also like to thank our project partners: Kingston University, The South East Rivers Trust, Medway Valley Countryside Partnership, North West Kent Countryside Partnership, Ham United, The Environment Trust for Richmond upon Thames, London Wildlife Trust, Friends of The River Crane Environment, Thames 21, The Wildfowl and Wetland Trust, The River Chess Association, Historic Royal Palaces, The Spelthorne Natural History Society, The Thames Anglers Conservancy and the Environment Agency.



PDF icon 2013 citizen science eel project report (1.84 MB)