Vernal Pools: Unique Habitat, Vulnerable Species, Threatened by Development

  Katherine Harrelson 

Did you know….Springtime is Vernal Pool season!

Vernal pools are essential breeding habitat for threatened and vulnerable species such as frogs and salamanders.

According to several sources, including Mass Audubon, vernal pools are extremely vulnerable to development. The critters who breed in vernal pools usually live in the surrounding woods. That’s why if the surrounding forest is lost to development, the vernal pool population may die.

Vernal pools are protected under the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act if they meet the definition of a wetland. Evidence can be presented during the permitting process that the wetland contains important wildlife habitat. That’s why it is important to certify vernal pools to ensure that they receive the recognition and protection they deserve. Vernal pools are usually protected as Isolated Vegetated Wetlands under your town’s local bylaw.

Certifying vernal pools can be done by you! Certification of vernal pools is a volunteer-led process. Contact your local Mass Audubon chapter or Community Land and Water Coalition for guidance and support.

Find out more here:

Use MassMapper (search Potential Vernal Pools) to learn if there is a vernal pool in your area that needs certification:

Finally, check out this article in Wicked Local which explains that there aren’t enough people certifying vernal pools in Massachusetts.

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