Seven years after the reopening of the dams along the seven and a half kilometers of the urban route of the Manzanares River, Ecologistas en Acción launched in February with a new proposal to renaturalize it. This time in Getafe, a city of 183,219 inhabitants in the south of the Community of Madrid. Up to 92 kilometers of this river flow through the region, from the Sierra de Guadarrama, in the Ventisquero de la Condesa, to the municipality of Rivas-Vaciamadrid, from northwest to southeast. Of these 92 kilometers, 9.4 are within the municipality of Getafe and 2.5 of them are urban sections, from the intersection of the Manzanares with the La Bulera stream at the end of El Caserío. The town council itself believes that the Ecologists proposal is a way to “improve the municipal project, Getafe Río, because it really is an opportunity to value nature and the city’s green commitment.” Getafe Río, whose performances began in 2021 in the 2.5 urban kilometers, it will be a reality this yearpromises the City Council.
The objective of the Ecologists initiative is to “recover its natural, scenic, cultural and social values”, informs Andrés Aganzo, spokesman for the NGO in Getafe, in a telephone interview. The idea is to intervene in the area near the Aguas Residuales Sur treatment plant, “specifically two kilometers upstream and three and a half kilometers downstream, in a strip of about 600 meters wide, which would have an area of about three square kilometers, which represents a total of 351 hectares”, indicates the memory of the initiative.
From Ecologistas en Acción they are positive and, although “on other occasions you can talk about sensations and desires”, now they have the legislation on their side, explains Aganzo. Once the Official State Gazette (BOE) published The guide to the treatment plants of China, Butarque and Surwhich explicitly includes the allegations they made, created “a commitment to develop the forest on the banks of the Manzanares,” argues the spokesman.
The NGO’s plan contemplates several interventions along the river, such as the removal of illegal dumping, the elimination of invasive exotic plant species and the planting of around 293,000 native trees and shrubs to recover badly damaged or non-existent riverside vegetation in wide stretches of the river.
Manzanares lives with his back to society. As it is right now there are sites that cannot even be accessed
Andrés Aganzo, spokesman for Ecologists in Action Getafe
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In a press release, Getafe City Council report on the progress of your own project. In recent months, the public cleaning and environmental company, LYMA, has been in charge of collecting waste and eliminating invasive species on the banks of the river between Madrid and Rivas. And they have placed special emphasis on the riparian areas with tall vegetation, on the flood-prone banks of the river, where there is shrubby flora, at the foot of the trunks and on their branches.
The first two phases of the local project will connect the urban centers of El Caserío and Perales del Río, through which the Manzanares river passes, in a fully accessible way. You can enjoy leisure spaces, environmental education, sustainable furniture and shaded spaces, making it a place for walks, sports and leisure.
“Work will be carried out to recover the native flora in the area, as well as two unique areas that are the best preserved, and a pond, through a 131-meter-long hunting enclosure, with slopes and plantations on its side. around”, explains Getafe. The plan has a budget of three million euros, which have been requested from the European Funds, including the footbridges that allow crossing from one bank of the river to the other and 37,000 plantations to recover the native flora.
“The Ecologistas project for Getafe is a little different from that of the city of Madrid, it is somewhat more rural, but at the same time The end would be for the use and enjoyment of the residents of the town”, clarifies the first general coordinator of Ecologistas en Acción (1989), Santiago Martín Barajas.
Aganzo, who is a resident of Getafe, believes that this initiative will change the way that the inhabitants of the municipality relate to the Manzanares. “It is a river that lives with its back to society. As it is right now, there are places that cannot even be accessed ”, he confesses. And he adds that “sadly, Getafe students have to take a bus to study the river instead of being able to enjoy it from their town.”
The Ecologists project contemplates other actions that favor the native fauna species that inhabit the area, with the aim of increasing the biodiversity associated with the ecosystem that makes up the river. The area in which this section of the Manzanares is located is considered protected land and is part of the Natura 2000 Network, a European ecological network of biodiversity conservation areas. “It is a land that has special characteristics that can favor the flora and fauna that have been abandoned,” explains Aganzo.
The group’s spokesperson see birds, María Luisa clarifies in an email that, although they have not had the opportunity to organize ornithological outings to Getafe, she has no doubts about the positive of the proposal: “The renaturation of the same river in the urban section of Madrid has served to return a lot of biodiversity to this channel and, with it, greater possibilities of making routes in said section”.
“We believe we see political will, both from the Ministry of Ecological Transition, which is the one who should carry out the project, and from the Getafe City Council,” Aganzo asserts. As for deadlines, Aganzo and his team are calm: “If they started up now, they could begin to see their fruits in two or three years, since land must be expropriated, land use changed, etc. and that, at a legal level, requires time. However, we are not concerned, but that the project is carried out”.
During a meeting that Ecologistas held on March 1 with the mayoress of Getafe, Sara Hernández, and other members of the local government team, the City Council stressed the complementarity of the actions contemplated in both plans. The second deputy mayor, Alba Leo, expressed “the good harmony of this meeting and the broad citizen support that the municipal project has to improve the river environment. And she added that “agreements like these are very positive to achieve the objectives.”
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