An environmental project to bring back a species more endangered than the Giant Panda to the upper reaches of the River Annan has been completed by George Leslie

A new 12-metre long Eel Pass over Milnby Weir will open up a further 675 KM of the River Annan to the critically endangered European eel and other species, such as the Lamprey.

The weir, first built in the 1950s to provide water to the Chapelcross nuclear power station, acts as a barrier for the European Eel but the joint project – run in partnership with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Magnox ltd, SEPA and Scottish Water – will dramatically improve the eco-system and upgrade the rivers’ ecological status from ‘poor’ to ‘good’ for eels.

Euan Innes, Asset Planner from Scottish Water, said: “Scottish Water is delighted to be helping return this globally rare and declining species of eel to the upper reaches of the River Annan. By working alongside our project partners, we have returned the river to good ecological status and provided a vast new habitat for eels and other species.”

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, European Eels are extremely likely to become extinct in the immediate future making them more vulnerable than the Giant Panda. Numbers have declined across the continent by around 90% since the 1970s.