Local organisation Action for the River Kennet (ARK) is launching a new project to protect European Eels locally, and is looking for schools, groups and individuals to be part of it. The iconic European Eel was once a common fish in the rivers Kennet and the Pang, but is now critically endangered.
The project is offering free workshops and assemblies for schools, as well as free eel talks and riverbank walks for community groups and the general public. Participants will learn all about the European Eel’s incredible life cycle and migration, as well as the importance of the rivers Kennet and Pang to the survival of eels.
ARK is also looking for volunteers to be trained this summer, to become part of a regular volunteer Eel Force team. They are particularly looking for volunteers on the River Kennet from Reading to Hungerford, including Newbury and Thatcham, and the River Pang from Pangbourne to Reading.
One reason for the eel’s steep population decline is man-made barriers in rivers, which prevent eels moving up and down the river system. ARK will be training volunteers to survey and map where these barriers are. This is an opportunity for anyone who would like to regularly spend time near their local river, at the same time as doing something useful to protect the European Eel.
Mia Ridler, Project Officer at ARK said;
“This project is really exciting. We can’t wait to talk to the community about this amazing fish and the wonderful habitat it lives in – your local river!”
Contact [email protected] if you would like to get involved with volunteering for the Eel surveys; are a teacher or parent interested in a school workshop or assembly for your school; or a community group interested in an eel talk.
The project is funded by the government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund. The fund is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England and the Environment Agency.