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Vernal Pool guide cover

Pennsylvania Sea Grant is developing a new resource to highlight the importance of vernal pools and wetlands, and feature the amphibians and reptiles that depend on them for survival.

The guide promotes vernal pool & wetland conservation and features species profiles and ID tips for nearly 30 types of salamanders, turtles, frogs, toads, and snakes – all commonly found in/around vernal pools in southeastern Pennsylvania.

Vernal pools are a type of wetland. They are temporary shallow depressions that fill with water after snow melts or rain falls. They are safe havens for many amphibians and reptiles, which rely on them for shelter, food, and as a place to mate, breed, and lay their eggs. Indicator amphibian species, like the Wood frog, will oftentimes return to the same vernal pool where they were born to mate and lay their eggs!

Vernal pools and other wetlands are also important to humans. They help reduce the impacts of heavy rain events in urban and suburban areas, like the southeastern region of Pennsylvania which includes Philadelphia, and their sponge-like nature slowly filters out pollutants while replenishing underground aquifers. Vernal pools and other wetlands also help reduce the impacts of climate change by capturing and storing carbon dioxide.

The purpose of the guide is to advance conservation efforts by helping resource managers and others better understand the importance of vernal pools and to identify the species that depend on them.

For details about the guide, or to be added to a list to receive a PDF or print version, contact Kelly Donaldson.

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