Butterfly Snail Rush Large Butterfly

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Orton Eel Alley

Eels migrating along the River Nene will now be able to negotiate the obstruction of lock gates, weirs and sluices at Orton Staunch using the Orton Eel Alley - the name we've given to the ditch network which runs from here to the River Nene immediately downstream of the Staunch.

The new silt trap, trash screen and ditch clearance work here is a partnership project between the Environment Agency and Nene Park Trust to help the passage of migrating eels.

Eel Alley
Silt trap and trash screen

Some eel facts

European eels (Anguilla anguilla) are classified as critically endangered because of a massive decline in numbers. This decline is due to over fishing  both of young eels (elvers) and adult eels. Other factors include pollution, parasites and man made structures obstructing migration.


The European eel is unique amongst European freshwater fish as the only species to migrate from freshwater as an adult and spawn at sea, in the Sargasso area off the coast of North America.


Eels do not begin to undertake spawning migrations until the males are at least six years old, and the females even older. Once in decline, their numbers take a long time to recover, as is the case with other long-lived, slow growing animals.