Volunteers and staff from the Thames Anglers Conservancy and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) joined forces in a project spearheaded by the Wandle Trust (Part of the new South East Rivers Trust), to help eels enter the Hogsmill River that runs through the centre of Kingston.
The European eel is now considered Critically Endangered due to the drop in the number of young eels (elvers) entering our rivers. It is a wonderful and iconic species with a life cycle that encompasses a 10,000 km round trip from the Sargasso Sea. Despite being such a long distance traveller eels aren’t particularly good swimmers .
Volunteers from Kingston University, with the support of ZSL, have been monitoring the number of elvers (young eel) migrating up the Hogsmill and are yet to find any. A possible reason for this is that they can’t get past the steep smooth concrete channel under the Historic Clattern Bridge.
The smooth slope which was a barrier to eel migration
Tim Longstaff of the Wandle Trust said “By adding special tiles to the riverbed that give the eels something to crawl through we hope that we can help them enter the Hogsmill. If we can open up all of London’s rivers more eels will grow to maturity in London meaning more will be able to swim back to the Sargasso Sea to breed”