MARCE project will be developed in a series of consecutive steps and it could be conceptually divided in two different parts. The first part of the project will consist in the development of a Synthetic River Network in which modelled hydrological, geomorphological, water characteristics and biological data will be integrated. Given this spatial framework a number of hypothesis regarding biophysical interactions will be tested. Finally, a Spatial Decision Support System will be developed integrating the model results within a GIS web page. In the second part of the project the ecological consequences of human pressures will be investigated by creating different pressure scenarios.

Task 1. Synthetic River Network development

A Synthetic river network will be developed from available Digital Elevation Models and using the NETMAP software package. This will allow deriving multitude of variables for each river reach within the river network. Climatic, geological, topographic and land uses will be calculated for upstream sections, buffers and local subcatchments.

Task 2. Database development and site selection

In agreement with the volume of data managed and the necessity to validate and store a huge amount of environmental data from different water agencies and other sources, Relational Data Base Management, Geospatial Services and Web technologies will be implemented to integrate the entire information.

Task 3. Geomorphological characterisation

A River Habitat Survey course will be designed to train different teams that will accomplish up to 80 sites on each of the four water agencies that collaborate within the project. All RHS data will be included in our databases through a web-page application. This application will allow calculating indices and retrieve information depending on different user levels.

Task 4. Data modelling

Random Forest, Boosted regression trees, Fuzzy logic and Neuronal networks will be used to model hydrological, physical habitat, water quality and biological communities, and also to construct models on river ecosystem present day human pressure situation and making projections for different river restoration and management scenarios.

Task 5. Development of the Spatial Decision Support System

Geospatial services and Web technologies will be implemented in order to present all the modelled results from the project, so that different end users can access all the project data through different types of queries.

Task 6. River restoration and human pressure scenarios

Data on human pressures such as location of dams, weirs, sewage effluents, channelization, and many more will be acquired from the four water agencies that participate in the project. GIS tools will be designed to calculate up and downstream distance to closest human pressures and also number of pressures of each type up and downstream. All this data will be included in our geographic database and scenarios involving different river restoration efforts will be calculated and their effects on ecosystem components evaluated.