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Creating Woodland Vernal Pools for Wildlife

 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3646
Location: Vermont, off grid for 22 years!
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Wildlife benefit from a variety of habitats that they can use for food and cover. Vernal pools are uncommon in some woodlands, yet would add greatly to the complexity of the ecosystem. Creating woodland vernal pools can be relatively simple, and have significant positive impacts on the types of wildlife viewed. Learn about the ecology of woodland vernal pools and strategies for installing them in your woodlot.


I watched this and started wondering about the similarities between vernal pools and swales.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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I just learned that my runoff goes to a vernal pond. I didn't have a name for it until now. It's on my neighbors property on the river flats. A couple acres with maybe 2 ft. depth. I doubt that its much help to wildlife, since it appears during the winter deluge and is gone within a week of the rain stopping.

I have a small skunk cabbage bog that the mosquitos appreciate.
 
Dan Tutor
Posts: 103
Location: Zone 5, Maine Coast
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Cj Verde wrote:

Wildlife benefit from a variety of habitats that they can use for food and cover. Vernal pools are uncommon in some woodlands, yet would add greatly to the complexity of the ecosystem. Creating woodland vernal pools can be relatively simple, and have significant positive impacts on the types of wildlife viewed. Learn about the ecology of woodland vernal pools and strategies for installing them in your woodlot.


I watched this and started wondering about the similarities between vernal pools and swales.


I improved on an existing vernal pool a few years ago by building a hugul berm on the lowest side. It still dries up eventually in dry weather, but lasts longer than it did before. It is a congregating spot for my free range chickens, a swimming pond for my ducks, as well as a watering hole for deer. Life seems to spring up any where there is a lasting puddle in the woods, especially if it has a window of sky.
I'm not sure if a swale would absorb more water than it would pool, but I think you're on the right track as far as holding water higher on the land and in shaded reserves to resist evaporation.
 
Michael Qulek
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I see a couple of vernal pools near the road on the way up to my property. My personal observation is that the standing water tends to sterilize the submerged area, most likely because of oxygen starvation to the roots of plants. A single species of rush seems to tolerate this around the edges. The center though once it does dry out, forms the stereotypical cracked mudflat checkerboard that more or less stays devoid of life.
 
Tim Malacarne
Posts: 226
Location: South central Illinois, USA
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We have 3 vernal pools in our post oak flatwoods. I just made holes with a Bobcat, spread the soil on the paths... We also have some salamanders, and the salamanders are the reason we built the pools. It's important that the pools dry out in the summer, to keep fish from living in them. Salamanders won't lay eggs when they detect fish.

Best, TM
 
Angelika Maier
Posts: 707
Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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I hand dug a tiny vernal pool, maybe the size of a bathtub (the water saver type). It is very difficult to dig were trees are because of the roots. Then don' you harm the trees? Do lay a bit of bentonite in there to seal the pond? And what do the tree roots so to the bentonite?
 
Ghislaine de Lessines
Posts: 196
Location: Vermont, annual average precipitation is 39.87 Inches
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Bathtub sized is a really good description for the small areas of seasonal standing water I've got in my woods. I wasn't sure if the qualified as vernal pools because of their small size. We definitely have salamanders around here!
 
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