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New permanent database will guide conservation of temporary wetlands

It's hard to protect a wetland you can't find. A new online database containing nearly 60,000 vernal pool locations in eight states and two Canadian provinces is now available to support conservation of vernal pool habitat.
New permanent database will guide conservation of temporary wetlands

Spadefoot toad. Credit: NPS

Temporary wetlands called vernal pools provide important breeding grounds for reptiles and amphibians, but their seasonal nature can make them difficult to find, and to protect. A new database is now available to guide conservation of this important habitat. 

Funded by a Priority Science Grant from the North Atlantic LCC, the Vernal Pool Data Cooperative (VPDC) project was established to help advance vernal pool conservation in the North Atlantic region by improving knowledge of vernal pool distribution. The approach: pool information.

By providing a spatially explicit database of field-verified and remotely-sensed (potential) vernal pool locations, the VPDC responded to an urgent need for a comprehensive information source for conservation professionals. Currently, the database consists of nearly 60,000 vernal pool locations submitted by cooperators representing eight 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 56,224 records from field-verified and potential vernal pool locations submitted by cooperators from 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 3,675 field-verified and potential vernal pool locations submitted by cooperators from Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, Nova Scotia, 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. 

View a recorded webinar on the Vernal Pool Data Cooperative hosted by the North Atlantic LCC on March 17, 2016.

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

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