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Study Type

EVS 300


Environmental Science and Policy


Vernal pools are ephemeral pools that dry up every year or few years. Massachusetts Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program (NHESP) developed a certification process for vernal pools that protects the pool under certain state and federal laws. In order for a pool to be certified evidence must be provided that the pool is in a confined basin with no permanently flowing outlets, there must be breeding or presence of indicator species, and there must be no fish. Smith College owns 200 acres of property in Whatley, MA and on the property is a potential vernal pool. My chief objective in this project was to conduct a preliminary investigation of the pool and begin the certification process. I visited the site twice once on 4/14/08 and once on 4/23/08. Photographic evidence was taken of the pool and of indicator species. The first visit yielded no visual evidence of indicator species. The second visit yielded four photographs of species in the pool: one obligate, two facultative, and one unidentified. During my two visits I observed two outlets and no inlets into the pool. While, further investigation is necessary to provide the specific evidence to legally certify the pool, I have shown that the pool/wetland is being utilized by multiple species. My hope is that Smith College and the community will take advantage of this significant resource.


© 2008; Caitlin Burgess