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Public Post is a community reporting initiative using digital tools to report on cities and towns across Vermont.Public Post is the only resource that lets you browse and search documents across dozens of Vermont municipal websites in one place.Follow reporter Amy Kolb Noyes and #PublicPost on Twitter and read news from the Post below.

Who's Seen A Vernal Pool? Cornwall Calls For Inventory

Alden Pellett
A spotted salamander makes its annual migration through New Haven to mate.

Along with the annual onslaught of April showers comes the emergence of Vermont's native amphibians and reptiles. Many come out in search of the vernal pools where they breed.

In Cornwall, the conservation commission has noticed the town has no record of vernal pools, and the commission is asking residents to help change that by reporting any of these seasonal ecosystems on their property. In an articleon the town website, the conservation commission states:

Curiously, there is no documentation of existing pools in Cornwall. This information is needed for the Inventory of Natural Resources that the town has undertaken. The Conservation Commission is asking for help. As the weather warms, the call of spring peepers and wood frogs will soon be heard. If you follow these calls, they may lead you to a vernal pool where salamanders and frogs are breeding. Amphibians seen moving overland in the spring also may indicate the presence of a vernal pool nearby. However, they may also be heading to or calling from a permanent pond or beaver dam.

The article describes vernal pools this way:

Vernal pools are small, temporary wetlands, seasonal in nature, that are filled with water from winter and spring snowmelt or rain. They are typically 1 to 4 feet deep, lack vegetation and are surrounded by a forest canopy.

Residents who find a vernal pool in Cornwall are asked to estimate its size and depth, look for visible egg masses and, if possible, take a picture of the pool. Alternatively, the conservation commission says residents can locate and identify the site using Google Maps.

Even if you don't live in Cornwall, there are other data collectors who might like to know about your reptile and amphibian sightings. The Vermont Reptile and Amphibian Atlas is a Middlebury College project that has collected over 25,000 records from 1,700 contributors over the past decade. However, the project's website says there are still many gaps to fill, especially for less common species.

Amy is an award winning journalist who has worked in print and radio in Vermont since 1991. Her first job in professional radio was at WVMX in Stowe, where she worked as News Director and co-host of The Morning Show. She was a VPR contributor from 2006 to 2020.
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