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A vernal pool is a temporary wetland, which fills annually from precipitation, melting snow and rising groundwater. Most years they become completely dry, losing water through evaporation and transpiration. The wet-dry cycle prevents fish populations from establishing but provides a productive, temporary habitat for a wide variety of species including salamanders, frogs and turtles to name a few.
Vernal pools provide an essential habitat for portions of the life cycles of many species. They are important water sources for wildlife and act as links in the overland passage of amphibians and reptiles. Vernal pools also play a vital role in maintaining both local and global biodiversity. Rare amphibian and reptile species are known to be present in Boxborough’s vernal pools.
Certifying a vernal pool with the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program provides the pool, and up to 100 feet beyond its boundary in some cases, certain protection under several local, state and federal laws. These regulations help to eliminate direct impacts to certified vernal pools and to minimize indirect impacts.
If you would like a vernal pool certified on your property, please contact Conservation Commission member David Koonce at 978-263-1052 or by email.