2016 Vernal Pool Field Verification Project for the City of Montpelier, Vermont

This survey, conducted during the second week of June, 2016, included, as its primary product, an updated map of vernal pools for the City of Montpelier (City). The focus of this effort was on field-verifying potential vernal pools formerly identified in a 2007 Natural Community Inventory (Inventory) conducted on behalf of the Montpelier Conservation Commission (MCC) for the City. Other vernal pools, not identified in the Inventory, were also field-surveyed. These included potential vernal pools known to members of the MCC, as well as vernal pools discovered by the project consultant, while conducting expanded searches on select parcels. Verification of a vernal pool was based primarily on evidence of breeding amphibians (wood frogs and spotted salamanders) regionally associated with local vernal pool habitats. Through a field verification process, conducted by ecological consultant, Dr. Steven P. Brady, a total of 14 vernal pools, either “potential” (3 pools) or confirmed (11 pools), were identified in this project. Of the 6, potential vernal pools, originally identified in the Inventory, 5 were confirmed.

Broader Conservation Goal: Updating the vernal pool layer for a Natural Resources Inventory (NRI) Map for the City. The NRI Map is designed to be a land use planning tool to support the collective efforts of residents, property owners, the City, and other stakeholders in making informed land use management decisions that contribute to the long-term conservation of Montpelier’s natural resources.

Project Contact: 
John Jose
Project Contact Email: 
Town: 
Montpelier
Regional Planning Commision: 
Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission
Year Project Started: 
2016
Year Completed: 
2016
Project Lifespan: 
May 2016 - June 2016
Keywords: 
Inventory
Project Accomplishments: 

A total of 14 vernal pools, either “potential” (3 pools) or confirmed (11 pools), were identified in this project. Of the 6, potential vernal pools, originally identified in the Inventory, 5 were confirmed. This provided data enabling the vernal pool layer of the MCC's NRI Map to be updated and subsequently incorporated into the City Planning Commission's zoning regs. update process.

Project Partners: 

City of Montpelier
Dr. Steven P. Brady, Envidea Environmental
Montpelier Conservation Commission
Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission
Landowners that granted access to their properties

Critical to Success: 
Critical to the success of this project was having a designated representative of the MCC to coordinate and drive the project forward, from inception through completion of field work and compilation of a final report. Also, the MCC, as a whole, was very supportive. Members attended a Special Meeting to review project proposals received in order to select a consultant to complete this project. They also contributed to editing the final report and MCC member James Brady supported the development of an updated map of vernal pools. The Central VT Regional Planning Commission provided the final vernal map for the City. Financial and administrative support provided by the City and City staff was also critical to the success of the project.
Challenges: 
Implementing project on a very short time frame. Also, concern that the lack of any significant snow pack and sparse spring rains would result in vernal pools being dry when the project consultant visited them during the 2nd week of June, which is relatively late in the spring season for vernal pool verification efforts.