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Vernal Pool Mapping and Conservation

Conserving Important Habitat for Amphibians and Other Wildlife: Compilation of Vernal Pool Mapping Efforts across the North Atlantic Region

Vernal pools are small, temporary bodies of water that can serve as critical habitat for frogs, salamanders, reptiles, invertebrates, and other species. This project compiled a comprehensive GIS dataset of known and potential vernal pool locations in the North Atlantic region, reviewing vernal pool mapping approaches, and demonstrating a remote sensing method to identify potential vernal pool sites.

Vernal or seasonal pools are small, temporary bodies of water that can serve as critical habitat for frogs, salamanders, reptiles, invertebrates, and other species. The first step in developing effective conservation strategies for vernal pools and associated wildlife species is to know where on the landscape these small wetlands exist. Although several several states and organizations in the Northeast region have initiated coordinated vernal pool mapping projects, this information has never been assembled in one place.

Currently, the Vernal Pool Data Cooperative (VPDC) consists of over 60,000 vernal pool locations submitted by cooperators representing ten states and two Canadian provinces from Virginia to Quebec’s Gaspe Peninsula. The VPDC is available on the Conservation Planning Atlas as two separate datasets (Level 1 and Level 2) depending on the restriction category assigned by the original data owner.

Level 1 data are unrestricted and available for download on the Conservation Planning Atlas.  These include over 50,000 records from field-verified and potential vernal pool locations submitted by cooperators from Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Quebec, and Vermont.

Level 2 data are restricted and only available for viewing on the Conservation Planning Atlas. These include over 3,000 field-verified and potential vernal pool locations submitted by cooperators from Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, Nova Scotia, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Although the data compilation phase of the project has been extended until June to allow for submissions of additional vernal pool locations, the project final report is available to download on the Conservation Planning Atlas, and includes a chapter on Remote Sensing Based Identification of Vernal Pools Using LiDAR and Object-based Image Analysis.

For questions, contact Steve Faccio at the Vermont Center for Ecostudies.


LCC Staff Contact: Scott Schwenk

In July 2016, a revised version of the report and datasets were released, reflecting additional vernal pool locations identified for Delaware and southeastern Pennsylvania. The first version of the report and datasets were released in February 2016, following the incorporation of North Atlantic LCC and partner comments. Data have been received from cooperators in ten states and two Canadian Provinces (ME, NH, VT, MA, NJ, NY, PA, MD, DE, VA, Nova Scotia and Quebec’s Gaspe Peninsula). The final report also describes a remote-sensing and modeling methodology for identifying woodland vernal pools developed by the cooperators, led by project PIs. High-resolution, leaf-off (spring) color-infrared (CIR) imagery, and LiDAR Intensity data were identified as reliable predictors of vernal pools.

The project began in January 2014 and kicked off in April 2014 with a Vernal Pool Mapping and Conservation Workshop in Springfield, Mass. to introduce the project and provide a forum for participation in its development. About 30 members of state and federal agencies, NGOs, academia, and private consulting firms representing 7 states across the Northeast and mid-Atlantic participated. The agenda is available here. A second mapping workshop took place on Friday, October 24, 2014. Click here for more details. Preliminary results from modeling work using LiDAR and imagery were presented via webinar (see presentations below).

In the news...Vernal-pool mapping workshop offers resources and collaborators - North Atlantic LCC news

To see the original Request for Proposals for this project, click here

Quarterly Reports
2016 Jan-March Quarterly Report - Vernal Pools
2015 Oct-Dec Quarterly Report - Vernal Pools

2015 July-Sept. Quarterly Report - Vernal Pools

2015 April-June Quarterly Report - Vernal Pools
2015 Jan-March Quarterly Report - Vernal Pools

2014 Oct-Dec Quarterly Report - Vernal Pools
2014 July-Sept. Quarterly Report - Vernal Pools
2014 April-June Quarterly Report - Vernal Pools
2014 Jan-March Quarterly Report - Vernal Pools

Workshops

Vernal Pool Mapping and Conservation Workshop, held in conjunction with the 2014 Northeast Natural History Conference on Monday, April 7, 2014. Download agenda and background materials here.

A second vernal pool mapping workshop was held on October 24, 2014 at the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control in Smyrna, Delaware.

Presentations

Powerpoint: North Atlantic Vernal Pool Data Cooperative - Compiling and Modeling Location Data for Conservation North Atlantic Vernal Pool Data Cooperative - Compiling and Modeling Location Data for Conservation

Powerpoint: A Potential Application for Vernal Pool ResultsDesigning Sustainable Landscapes in the Northeast: A Potential Application for Vernal Pool Results (April 7, 2014)

Webinar: The North Atlantic Vernal Pool Data Cooperative: A Regional Framework to Advance Conservation Planning (March 17, 2016)

NALCC Funding: $100,000

Products, case studies, new stories, and other resources for this project are available from its product page.

Level 1 vernal pool data available for visualization or download from the Conservation Planning Atlas (Data Basin)

Level 2 vernal pool data available for visualization only from the Conservation Planning Atlas (Data Basin)

Final report available for download

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