Vernal Pool Mapping Project

The Vermont Vernal Pool Mapping Project is a collaborative project that aims to identify and protect vernal pools across the state.
Vernal pools offer critical habitat for amphibians and insects as they offer water habitat without the threat of fish predation. As small seasonal bodies of water, vernal pools are difficult to identify and monitor. With the use of Geographic Information System (GIS) technology, partners of this project were able to identify areas that potentially hold vernal pools. Validation of vernal pools in potential areas is necessary and is done by trained volunteers. Partners of this project aim to improve awareness of the value of vernal pools, as well as develop more comprehensive conservation planning strategies that protect the pools.

Project Contact: 
Michael Lew-Smith
Project Contact Email: 
Town: 
STATEWIDE
Year Completed: 
2012
Project Lifespan: 
2009-2012
Keywords: 
Citizen Science
Forest Land
Inventory
Land Management
Water
Wetland
Other Keywords: 
Vernal Pools, Amphibians
Project Accomplishments: 

By 2012, the inventory of potential vernal pools was completed with funding from the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department as well as the Davis Conservation Foundation, William P. Wharton Trust, New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, Upper Connecticut River Mitigation and Enhancement Fund, Norcross Wildlife Foundation , Windham Foundation, Riverledge Foundation and the Conservation & Research Foundation. For the last three years, workshops have been held in the spring to train volunteers for field validation. The combined effort of the official project partners and volunteers has produced a final report for the National Heritage Information Project that lays out what the project has compiled in terms of pool location, fauna presence, and a description of the methods. A critical product of the project is the Vermont Vernal Pool Map which is a multi-layer web map that provides information about pool verification status across the state.

Project Partners: 

Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department
Vermont Center for Ecostudies
Vermont Wetland Office Department of Environmental Conservation
Association of Vermont Conservation Commissions Vermont Vernal Pool Collaborative
Arrowwood Environmental

Critical to Success: 
This project was thought up by Michael Lew-Smith, Steve Faccio and Mark Fergusen to get information about vernal pools into the hands of local folks in Vermont and provide a reference for planning agencies such as the Vermont Wetlands Office. The key factor that allowed the project to become successful was the connection between project partners and enthusiastic volunteers. According to Michael Lew-Smith, with Arrowwood Environmental, the Association of Vermont Conservation Corporations (AVCC) was critical for getting in touch with interested individuals to volunteer.
Challenges: 
The greatest challenge of the project was finding vernal pools due to the fact that their existence depends on temporary and fluctuating conditions. Vernal pools are also often found in remote areas, including those found on private land. Depending on the information from volunteers proved to produce variable success and simply required efforts to follow up after submission of validation material.
Ref Doc Desc: 
The Final report for the Vernal Pool Mapping Project