CENTRAL MAINE - What is a vernal pool? How do these bodies of water affect landowners dealing with wetland issues? Answers to these questions and more will be available at a half-day Vernal Pool Workshop presented by Gordon Moore of the Maine Forest Service and hosted by the Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine on Saturday, May 6th.
Vernal pools are small ponds that are most obvious in the forest each spring. Some vernal pools do not meet the statutory definition of wetlands. These will still be addressed during the workshop because the subject comes up whenever wetland forest management is discussed.
The ponds derive their name from vernalis, the Latin word for spring, because they result from various combinations of snowmelt, precipitation and high water tables associated with the spring season. The ponds tend to occur in small depressions and while many dry up in late summer, a few have water year round.
The ponds may vary greatly in terms of recharge, discharge haracteristics, source of water, and geology. Those supplied by groundwater from limestone geology tend to be less acid and less variable in acidity. By definition, vernal pools are free of fish and can therefore support a rich community of amphibian and invertebrates that would be difficult to sustain if fish were present.
In the words of Robert Frost...
The Vernal Pool Workshop will begin at 9 a.m. at the Milo Town Hall. The presentation will include a classroom segment on natural history, conservation management issues, Forestry Habitat Management Guidelines, as well as general information about wetlands. This will be followed with fieldwork at a local vernal pool.
The Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine promotes sound forest Management and strengthens long-term woodland stewardship by providing information and education to landowners in the state. The Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District is a partner agency of Natural Resources Conservation Service, located in the USDA Service Center, and provides natural resource education to promote practices that maintain our way of life. All district programs are offered on a nondiscriminatory basis, without regard to race, national origin, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, marital or familial status, political beliefs, or disabilities.
Credits for foresters and Certified Logging Professionals will be available. Cost is by donation. Pre-registration is recommended. For registration or for more information, please call 564-2321, extension 3.
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