What is a Vernal Pool?
The first step in identifying a habitat is knowing what to look for.
So, what does a vernal pool look like?
These pools can look very different from one another. Some can be small and shallow, others large and deep, some may have no plants in them, some can have lots. To determine if something is a vernal pool you need to find the following key features:
1. A defined basin of standing water in the woods that is not connected to a permanent stream.
2. It dries out at least once every 2-3 years.
3. Certain animals (see here) use these pools for breeding.
4. Most importantly, THERE ARE NO FISH!
Vernal pools are important for many reasons, a few examples are:
1. They collect and absorb rain and snow melt, filtering the water and preventing flooding.
2. A good Vernal Pool can produce thousands of new salamanders and frogs every year. These then go out and become part of the food web of the forest.
3. They are used as habitat for many animals, some of which could not survive without these pools.