Currently, amphibians are one of the most concerning taxonomic groups because of their conservation status. Habitat destruction and alteration, diseases and global change are dramatically reducing their populations, which is generating an active reaction movement towards taking actions for their conservation. It is therefore essential to take advantage of every opportunity to preserve and strengthen their populations and habitats.

Mining holes in Áridos Sanz Gravel Pit, where water table is over the surface level, are potential new habitats to allocate these animals and offer new opportunities for conservation of amphibian populations. However, the disconnection between these the new habitats and the current ones limits the potential use of mining ponds for conservation.

The general objectives of our study are (1) to study habitat availability for amphibians in Áridos Sanz Gravel Pit; (2) to assess amphibian connectivity among ponds and between them and the “Riberas del Duero y Afluentes” SCI; and (3) to provide connectivity enhancement measures adjusted to the local conditions.

QLA experience

We want to use our last post to summarize our performance on the Quarry Life Award 2016. Stepping Ponds project “has absorb” our free time for some months and we got tired sometimes, but… we are happy with the results!

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Last steps for Stepping Ponds

Connectivity assessment allowed us value current situation for amphibians in Áridos Sanz gravel pit and evaluate measures for biodiversity enhancement. Keep reading to know our results!

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Rain! Rain!!

Taking advantage of the visit to the gravel pit with the jury, we finished the last phase of the pond systems construction. Despite the cold and the rain, we ended the work with a big smile: the ponds were filling up :)

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Habitat quality maps

We already have the final results of the habitat quality assessment for amphibians! - Water bodies analyzed: 75 - Attributes analyzed: 27 More information in this post!

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Constructing the pond systems (Video)

This video, edited by the Tormes Foundation, shows half the process of constructing the artificial pond systems for improving connectivity for amphibians. We would like to thank Victor and Ángel for the help and for the video!

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Why two pond systems?

As we mentioned in the last post, the two pond systems were built next to each other, but… then why we don’t consider all the ponds as only one system? What is the difference between the two groups of ponds?

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Creating new habitats for the Amphibians

The hard work has borne fruit. Two pond systems specifically designed for Amphibians have been constructed today in Aridos Sanz Gravel Pit. Read on if you want to know more details!

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Amphibian DIY

Despite of the hard times, we are back with new information about this project. In this post we want to share some progress we have already done. And also, we would like to introduce you the alma mater of our group. HE IS VALTER, the boldest hamster ever seen.

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The study that we conducted the previous months gave us some keys for constructing new ponds. Now, the design is ready to be constructed! Despite we need to test some hypothesis that requires time for experimentation, we want to lay the groundwork to achieve this challenge!

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The last bath

On July 4th we went back to La Cistérniga to get into the water one last time. There, we collected samples to analyze water quality.

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Lines of action

After analyzing the distribution of amphibians inside the gravel pit, we have drawn some conclusions, with which we have designed four lines of action.

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Beyond the limits

After having exhaustively explored the surroundings of the gravel pit in this 5th visit, we came to the conclusion that the place could act as an amphibian dispersion source if habitats are improved and created for some species.

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Meetings and (re)encounters

The 4th visit to the gravel pit began as the previous one ended, with the sampling and characterization of the temporary ponds that remained unfound under the shade of the poplars. In addition, we characterized the permanent water bodies and two possible areas for amphibian connection outside the exploitation. Eventually, at night we took an evening stroll for identifying amphibian singings.

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A night at the gravel pit

From Friday May 13th to Saturday May 14th the 'Stepping Ponds' group made its second prospecting visit to the gravel pit. This time we had the invaluable presence and help from Gonzalo Alarcos, regional coordinator for Castile and Leon SARE program.

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Amphibians, where are you?

On Friday 22nd April the team visited Áridos Sanz Gravel Pit. Our objective was to decide places for water sampling and to talk about our project strategies in situ.

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