The Catalonian partners of INTERFACES are pleased to announce that on 12 December 2014, the experimental platform Urban River Lab (URL) will be officially inaugurated.
URL includes a set of 18 artificial flumes (60 cm width and 12 m lenght) and 12 mesocosms wetlands (1,8 x 1,5 m2). This infrastructure is feed by the effluent of the WWTP from the Montornés del Vallés. This system has been designed to experimentally approach a wide range of both ecological and applied questions in relation to how freshwater ecosystems respond to inputs from urban point sources. In addition, the system will allow to test how bioengineering structures can influence the transport and the cycling of nutrients.
Francesc Sabater (UB), Eugenia Martí and l'Esperança Gacia (CEAB-CSIC), and Albert Sorolla (Naturalea) would like to thank el Consorci per la Defensa de la Conca del Besós and the city hall of Montornès del Vallés, who thought this scientific initiative could contribute to social demand about water quality and environmental health of streams in urban landscapes. Thus, they provided support on providing the space to locate the URL, water and energy sources to make them active, and logistics to build them. The design and construction has been leaded by Naturalea Team. The project was finally moved forward into this initiative thanks to the scientific and economic support of the ITN Marie Curie INTERFACES project and the Cleanleach (Naturalea i IRTA) project. The project team will seek further economic support to make sure the URL can have a long-term life.
INTERFACES fellows and partners will be able to visit the Urban River Lab as part of the Advanced Training Courses held in June 2015 in Catalonia. At the moment, the system is set to evaluate the influence of different macrophytes on the biogeochemical patterns along sub-surface flow paths. INTERFACES fellows are welcome to contribute to this question and visit the facility to do particular measurements. After this experiment is completed in May 2015, the URL will be available to tackle other questions that are relevant for INTERFACES.