What is a vernal pool?

Vernal (meaning Spring) pools, also known as ephemeral pools, are unique wildlife habitats, which have become an increasingly rare type of wetland in Massachusetts. Due to their sensitivity, vernal pools and the surrounding areas are protected under the MA Wetlands Protection Act, as well as the Upton Wetlands Protection Bylaw. Vernal pools provide critical habitat for amphibians and invertebrate animals, such as the wood frog (Rana sylvatica), blue-spotted salamander (Ambystoma laterale), Blanding's turtle (Emydoidea blandingii), and spotted turtle (Clemmys guttata). A vernal pool is a confined basin that typically fills with water in the autumn or winter due to rising groundwater and rainfall. The water remains ponded throughout the spring, until the water dries up in the summer months. Many amphibians and invertebrate species rely on vernal pools for their breeding, feeding, and shelter purposes.

For that reason, vernal pools are essential for the continued survival of the wildlife species that are dependent upon this rare and threatened resource area.

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1. Help! I have beavers! What do I do?
2. What is the Wetlands Protection Act?
3. What should I do if I see someone breaking environmental laws?
4. What can I do to help maintain the health of wetland areas?
5. I have an underground oil tank. How do I prevent leaks and/or deal with spills?
6. What is a Stormwater Management Policy?
7. What is a Flood Zone? Am I in one?
8. What is a Floodplain? Am I in one?
9. What about emergency tree removal?
10. Do I need a permit to cut trees and brush?
11. How do I get a wetland delineation?
12. I’m thinking about buying property. How will I know if there will be wetland issues?
13. How do I know if I have wetlands or other resources?
14. What is a vernal pool?
15. Do I need a permit?
16. What is a Buffer Zone?
17. Why do we protect wetlands?
18. What are the common wetland resource areas found in Upton?
19. What exactly is a wetland?