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The Urban Pond

This open air ecological laboratory, which includes ‘Stagno Urbani’ and “Lake Sorbini”, is situated on the left bank of the Metauro River, four kilometers from the river’s mouth, within the city limits of Fano (Pesaro Urbino). The deeper water of the pond contains potamogetonetea vegetation, while the shallower edges are covered with various reeds.
This environmental restoration project, which is utilized for educational activities, has helped to create marshlands along with riparian wooded and bush areas that reproduce vegetation from the nearby willow and poplar forest preserve along the Metauro. One specific area has been set aside for the study of the European pond turtle, while other areas have been created for animal observations, guided educational tours and a visitors center, which houses reading material and tools for environmental research of the area. Also available at the visitors center is a small laboratory for observation of the various fresh water invertebrate species found there. The visitor’s center houses a rather extensive library and technical video library, specifically relating to the marshlands. The center offers internships to university students, as well as refresher and update courses on environmental topics and local animal species. It is an on-going research station regarding the restoration and the scientific and educational management of, wetlands.  This research is the subject of a series of publications entitled “Documenti e ricerche” (documents and research).

The vegetation in the preserve is comprised of submerged vascular species (shining pondweed, whorled milfoil), floating species (aquatic ranunculus, duck weed), while in the transition zone are found the typical wetland flora: from reeds to purple loosestrife, from seaside brookweed to watercress; from many species of cattail to rushes, knotweeds and numerous algae.
There is an abundant presence of invertebrates, while representative fish include: Barbell, Fat Chub, Southern European Nase, Carp, Bleak and Eel.  In recent years no new fish have been introduced in order to aid the reproduction of amphibians.  Examples of these are the Common and Crested Newt, Common Tree Frog and the Little Emerald Toad.  Among the reptiles found, are the Tessellated Grass Snake and the Water Snake. 

The list of birds is quite extensive, be they migratory or sedentary. During migration many rare species have been sighted, among them: Arctic Loon, Bittern, Black and White Storks, Glossy Ibis, Crane, Spoonbill, Common Shell duck, Black bellied Plover, Marsh Sandpiper and the Osprey. Also of interest are the flora and fauna along the rocky river banks, utilized as a nesting area by the Little Ringed Plover.  The project was made possible by the local federate association, “Associazione Naturalistica Argonauta” of Fano, and the local section of the ‘Associazione Kronos 1991”.
The vast cane thicket area was chosen by the hunting office for the Pesaro Urbino Province as a site for the capture and tagging census program, in coordination with the “Istituto Nazionale Fauna Selvatica” (National Wildlife Institute) in Ozzano Emilia.
In 1997 the province instituted the wildlife preserve Stagno Urbani encompassing 110 hectares along with the nearby Metauro river and a lake. The open air ecological laboratory “Stagno Urbani” is managed by a voluntary association which is recognized by the Marche Region and part of a regional network of educational, environmental centers and laboratories.

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