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.
Working with collaborators from across the Northeast, the Vermont Center for Ecostudies (VCE) led the development of the North Atlantic Vernal Pool Data Cooperative (VPDC), a database of nearly 60,000 vernal pool locations from Virginia to Quebec’s Gaspe Peninsula.
Funded by a Priority Science Grant from the North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative (NALCC), the VPDC was established to help advance vernal pool conservation by improving knowledge of where vernal pools occur within the Northeast. According to Steve Faccio, VCE conservation biologist and VPDC project leader, “Having a region-wide database of vernal pools will greatly improve our ability to do landscape scale conservation planning for these small, but critical wetlands.”
The VPDC is available on the NALCC’s 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. The final report also includes a chapter on results from another component of the NALCC-funded project, in which VCE collaborated with the University of Vermont Spatial Analysis Lab to develop a method of identifying vernal pools remotely using LiDAR.
The NALCC will host a free webinar on the Vernal Pool Data Cooperative on Thursday, March 17th, from noon to 1:00 pm. Steve Faccio will discuss the VPDC, and Sean MacFaden, of the UVM Spatial Analysis Lab, will discuss development of the LiDAR modeling to detect vernal pools.