What is a vernal pool?
A Vernal pool is a seasonal watercourse in a defined depression or basin, that lacks a fish population and supports or is capable of supporting breeding and development of amphibian or invertebrate species recognized as "obligate"- which means without the vernal pool, the species cannot survive. These species include spotted salamander, Jefferson salamander complex (several related species that may hybridize), marbled salamander, wood frog, and fairy shrimp.
Benefits of a vernal pool
Vernal pools and the species that inhabit them help to maintain biodiversity, create biomass and support the food chain. They contribute to the aesthetics of the forest environment and are an important educational resource.
In 2003, Soil Scientist Ed Pawlak of Connecticut Ecosystems, LLC was retained to identify potential vernal pools (PVPs) in the Town of Vernon. Black & white aerial photographs were reviewed with mirror stereoscopes, and potential vernal pools were identified by dark "fingerprints", canopy breaks, and landscape position.
Following field investigations, Mr. Pawlak presented his results to the Inland Wetlands Commission and the Conservation Commission. He found 29 confirmed vernal pools and 21 PVPs that were not vernal pools. Five PVPs to which access was denied, and 5 of which had unknown ownership, were not inspected.
The Conservation Commission will continue to identify and accumulate data about vernal pools for Vernon's natural resource inventory.
The CC will work with the Open Space Task Force and the Vernon Inland Wetlands Commission to protect productive pools, preserve as much of the surrounding forest as possible, maintain migratory connections between productive pools, and educate the public about the biological importance of vernal pools.