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Ohio Vernal Pools 2-09

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Ohio's Vernal Pools, presentation on Feb 21, 2009

Ohio's Vernal Pools, presentation on Feb 21, 2009

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  • 1. State of Ohio’s Vernal Pools Mick Micacchion Ohio EPA Wetland Ecology Group
  • 2. Vernal Pools • Forested and shrub depressions in a forested landscape • Isolated hydrology – primarily surface and ground water • Seasonal hydrology – ephemeral – at least late winter (Feb/March) to early summer (June/July) • Free of predatory fish • Provide important amphibian breeding habitat
  • 3. Amphibian Habitat Needs Seasonal hydrology - March-June • Fish-free – bass, sunfish, pike, bullheads • Leaf litter/ woody debris • Microtopographic features • Woodlands – especially important within • 200m radius Other breeding pools nearby •
  • 4. Amphibian Monitoring Sites
  • 5. Spring peeper, Pseudacris crucifer
  • 6. Western chorus frog, Pseudacris triseriata
  • 7. Northern leopard frog, Rana pipiens
  • 8. Gray treefrog, Hyla versicolor
  • 9. Wood frog, Rana sylvatica
  • 10. Smallmouth salamander, Ambystoma texanum
  • 11. Spotted salamander, Ambystoma maculatum
  • 12. Tiger salamander, Ambystoma tigrinum
  • 13. Marbled salamander, Ambystoma opacum
  • 14. Jefferson salamander, Ambystoma jeffersonianum
  • 15. Ambystomatid hybrid
  • 16. Photo by Mike Graziano Four-toed salamander and eggs
  • 17. Eastern red-spotted newt Notophthalmus viridescens
  • 18. Amphibian Species Sensitivity Salamanders: Frogs and Toads: Smallmouth 4 Green frog 1 Streamside 5 American bullfrog 2 Unisexual hybrids 5 American toad 2 Jefferson 6 Northern spring peeper 3 Eastern newt 6 Fowler’s toad 4 Spotted 8 Western chorus frog 4 Marbled 8 Northern leopard frog 4 Tiger 9 Cope’s & Gray treefrogs 4 Four-toed 10 Mountain chorus frog 5 Blue-spotted 10 Northern cricket frog 7 Wood frog 7 Pickerel frog 7 Eastern spadefoot 10
  • 19. Amphibian Index of Biotic Integrity Metrics • Amphibian Quality Assessment Index (AQAI) • Number of species of pond breeding salamanders • Relative abundance of sensitive species • Relative abundance of tolerant species • Presence of spotted salamanders or wood frogs • 10pts.each (0, 3, 7, 10), 50 pts. total
  • 20. Urban Vernal Pools – Central Ohio • Randomly selected 200 urban wetlands – NWI and OWI (out of 649) – Tree or shrub dominated – Isolated depressions - SW and GW fed – Inundation thru amphibian breeding season – No predatory fish • Monitored 14 wetlands (vernal pools) for amphibians 14/200 = only 7% of central Ohio wetlands provided amphibian community breeding habitat – 3 – Poor quality – 3/200 = 1.5% – 9 – Fair quality – 9/200 = 4.5% – 2 – Good quality – 2/200 = 1% – 0 – Excellent quality
  • 21. Urban Vernal Pool
  • 22. Mitigation Bank Study Monitored 33 subareas at 12 wetland mitigation banks Total = 999.2 acres (404.4 hectares) Amphibian data collected with deployment of 1040 funnel traps (24,960 trap hours)
  • 23. Species Composition of Wetland Mitigation Banks • Abundant – Green frog. Rana clamitans 38% • Absent or extremely rare – Toads, Bufo sp. 22% – All Ambystomatid – Leopard frog, R. pipiens salamander species <1% 19% – Red-spotted newt, – Bullfrog, R. catesbeiana Notophthalmus viridescens 12% – Spotted salamander, – Spring peeper, Pseudacris Ambystoma maculatum crucifer 5% – Wood frog, R. sylvatica
  • 24. Excellent Good Fair Poor
  • 25. Limitations of Wetland Mitigation Projects to Amphibian Usage • Landscape placement - narrow or no buffers and intensive surrounding land uses • Presence of predatory fish – stream hydrology • Permanent vs. seasonal hydrology • Steep slopes and lack of vegetation – vegetation present is emergent class • Large sizes minimizing edge habitats
  • 26. Limitations on Amphibian Communities with Urban Vernal Pools • Intensive surrounding land uses • Lack of buffers • Isolation from other patches of habitat
  • 27. Urban Vernal Pools– Why they are development targets • Often are present as wetlands in landscapes that are otherwise dominated by uplands • Generally small • Often are dry much of the year and may not be recognized as wetlands at those times • Surrounding development has lowered their quality
  • 28. State of Vernal Pool Habitat in Ohio
  • 29. Thank You!!!

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