Two wetlands with an average area of ​​8 hectares each are distributed along the left bank of the Guadalquivir. The singularity, in an area where these ecosystems are not scarce, derives from the fact that they have been built in highly altered areas as the numerous birds of a river and its banks, territory classified within the Nature Network.

The Port Authority of Seville decided to overturn the waste dumps where it has been depositing the earth extracted from the channel for decades. The dredged annually help maintain the depth of the channel within the Guadalquivir following boats between Sanlucar and Seville.

In a normal season, 250,000 cubic meters of sediment are extracted by suction, which the dredges deposit in three places: near the lock in Seville, Trebujena, and Lebrija. Historically these silts and sands (these are more frequent near the mouth) have been used by nearby brickmakers and farmers. Now there is a complementary activity in the period of arrival and breeding of the birds.

With the advice of the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), the Port Authority has enabled in two dumps - lock and Lebrija - sheets of water with islands in which 65 species of birds have already sought refuge, of which 12 have reproduced . A figure at the height of the environment of the Doñana natural space in which they are found, with such infrequent species as the osprey, brown teal, Moorish coot, or hollyhock. The most abundant are avocet and stilt.

Roberto Muriel and Miguel Ferrer are the CSIC biologists responsible for an initiative that allows them to "investigate the most ecologically profitable management of space through water management and the shape of the islands." Ferrer adds an objective to which he aspires, similar to the one he already achieved with the fisherwoman. It is about the return to the channel of the pelicans, or even of the eagles, also a bird of aquatic feeding and with a gigantic wingspan, 2.5 meters.

A group of spoonbills, in one of the drains of the river.ROBERTO MURIEL

In each dump the rafts rotate in use. In all of them the water is kept consecutively at an optimal level for the breeding; space preparation; and the extraction of the sediments that they will use in agriculture -for their contributions of nutrients and to improve the substrate-, and in construction.

Antonio Bejarano, Chief of the APS Environment Division, explains that this turn to the waste dumps responds to the APS decision to join the Working with Nature model assumed by European ports, "to know our environment and operate in agree with him. " The dredger brings an archaeologist aboard to detect what appears of interest on deck. And the composition of silts and sands that will be deposited in these wetlands is also inspected. Bejarano, like Ferrer, agree that the sediments are "clean", with no trace of contaminants , "even lead has dropped since it was banned in aquatic hunting ammunition."

When the sands are adequate, they dump into needy beaches in Sanlúcar: Bajo de Guía and La Calzada-Piletas. This fall it was 112,000 cubic meters. Until now they were thrown into the sea in a suitable place in the estuary.

The river can reach a depth of 20 meters, as in front of the Tower arm, but other areas of the inner canal are clogged and need dredging for safety of navigation , especially in front of the lock. The dredging has the scientific advice of the Research Foundation of the University of Seville, University of Malaga, CSIC, University of Cádiz and University of Huelva.

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