The extraction of materials in the quarry "Áridos Sanz" generates new aquatic habitats, which create opportunities for colonization of different species, such as otters and water voles. Enhance the connectivity of water bodies between the gravel quarry and its surroundings could: 1) Increase the biodiversity at the local and regional scale and 2) help developing conservation strategies for these species in the medium and long term. Taking advantage of the benefits of the scenario, firstly the project addresses a georeferenced population study of aquatic mammals, such as otter and water vole. This study will be carried out using camera traps and droppings´ surveys in the quarry lagoon system, and in the irrigation canal and Duero River at different distances from the quarry. The population study also includes a genetic analysis of otter droppings. Then, in order to determine the connectivity of the territory and to develop habitat suitability models for the desired species, different spatial analysis of the populations and their interactions with environment features will be developed. The results of all these studies will be published in a scientific report and in a technical handbook on ecological restoration actions for improving the aquatic mammal’s habitat in gravel quarries and their surroundings. Finally, dissemination materials will be designed and disseminations events will be implemented.

Psychedelic maps; spatial analysis as a decision making tool to improve ecological connectivity

Spatial analysis based on Geographic Information Systems are excellent tools to help making decisions about ecological restoration actions to improve ecological connectivity of restored areas with the territory. We have developed a GIS model to evaluate the permeability of the matrix (how easy is for otters to move throughout the territory), to inform actions to improve the connectivity of the gravel quarry lagoon system with its surroundings.

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Discovering the best habitats for otters in the gravel quarry and its surroundings

Finally we have the results of another of the project studies: the analysis of habitat suitability for otters. We used multivariate statistical tools and multiple regression models to study the influence of environmental variables on the habitat use intensity by otters, differentiating between the whole territory and the territory core area. The findings of this analysis can be translated into clear guidelines for restoration of gravel quarries for conservation of semiaquatic mammals.

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Revealing the genetic secret hidden in otter spraints

The geo-localized otter spraints found fresh in the 19 locations surveyed in the gravel quarry and its surrounding, were analyzed genetically to identify the individuals in the area, and study their movements. This genetic identification will help us to analyze the connectivity between the gravel quarry lagoon system, and the Duero River and its irrigation channel up to 15km East and West of the quarry.

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The otter population study by camera traps have finalized

Four of the previous project posts have covered partial results of the camera-trap study of the otter population in the lagoon system of the gravel quarry. Finally, once the third camera-trap campaign have been carried out, we have analyzed all the pictures and videos, generating interesting results.

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Finalizado el estudio poblacional de nutrias mediante fototrampeo

Cuatro de los post que hemos publicado sobre el proyecto han sido resultados parciales de estudio poblacional de las nutrias del sistema lagunar de la gravera mediante fototrampeo. Finalmente, una vez realizado la tercera campaña de fototrampeo hemos analizado todas las fotografías y finalizado el estudio, que ha generado interesantes resultados.

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Connectivity across scales in the quarry "Áridos Sanz" and their surroundings

The extraction of materials in the quarry has generated new aquatic habitats for colonization of different species from the early 90s to recent times. In the connectivity analysis, we compared the scenarios before and after the existence of the lagoons at small (104km2) and large (724km2) scale, using the aerial photos of 1986 and 2014 (see the attached maps). The results showed that the presence of quarry lagoons enhanced the connectivity for Europeans otters in 17.4% at small scale and 4.4%...

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La conectividad a través de las escalas en la gravera "Áridos Sanz" y su entorno

La extracción de materiales en la gravera ha generado nuevos hábitats acuáticos para la colonización de distintas especies desde los inicios de los años 90 hasta tiempos recientes. En los análisis de conectividad usando el programa Conefor, comparamos escenarios antes y después de la existencia de las lagunas a menor (104 km2) y a mayor escala (724 km2), usando las fotos aéreas de 1986 y las de 2014 (ver mapas adjuntos). Los análisis mostraron que la presencia de las lagunas de la gravera...

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Premiere Video: “One rest hour of an Eurasian otter family”

Amazing video about otter night life! / Estreno del video: “Una hora de descanso de una familia de nutrias” ¡Increíble video sobre la vida nocturna de las nutrias!

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Video appetizer

Short otter video as a starter. The best is still to come! We are working on it.

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Some preliminary results of otter sings

We're half-way through the surveys! So far, we have found 128 otter spraints in the 19 locations surveyed. We have detected spraints in the gravel quarry lagoon system, in the ditch, in the irrigation channel and in the Duero River, the marking intensity (number of spraints/100 meters) vary considerably across the different water body types (see attached figure). Interestingly, the highest spraint marking intensity is found in the Middle Lagoon of the gravel quarry.

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What if the quarry was a local biodiversity hotspot ?

After the second fieldtrip, we have got more than 1000 photographs and about 50 videos of wildlife in the quarry Áridos Sanz in Valladolid. Our 10 camera traps have recorded images of 16 vertebrate species. These results indicate that quarries under a proper management can function as a refuge for wildlife species and even become a local biodiversity hotspot.

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So many questions to anwswer...

The camera traps pictures showed that not only otters are present in the lagoon system of the quarry but also breeding in it. This great piece of news open a whole host of interrelated questions that we will disentangle along the project which will help us understand and improve the connectivity of the quarries with their surroundings.

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Hectic spring in the gravel quarry “Áridos Sanz” and their surroundings

Our first survey has been very successful and satisfactory. The camera traps captured European otter and other 10 species in the quarry and we found otter dropping samples in 13 out of 19 transects. The project keeps progressing and we are highly motivated. COGRAMA TEAM

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