Ohio Vernal Pools 2-09

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

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Ohio Vernal Pools 2-09

  1. 1. State of Ohio’s Vernal Pools Mick Micacchion Ohio EPA Wetland Ecology Group
  2. 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. 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. 4. Amphibian Monitoring Sites
  5. 5. Spring peeper, Pseudacris crucifer
  6. 6. Western chorus frog, Pseudacris triseriata
  7. 7. Northern leopard frog, Rana pipiens
  8. 8. Gray treefrog, Hyla versicolor
  9. 9. Wood frog, Rana sylvatica
  10. 10. Smallmouth salamander, Ambystoma texanum
  11. 11. Spotted salamander, Ambystoma maculatum
  12. 12. Tiger salamander, Ambystoma tigrinum
  13. 13. Marbled salamander, Ambystoma opacum
  14. 14. Jefferson salamander, Ambystoma jeffersonianum
  15. 15. Ambystomatid hybrid
  16. 16. Photo by Mike Graziano Four-toed salamander and eggs
  17. 17. Eastern red-spotted newt Notophthalmus viridescens
  18. 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. 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. 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. 21. Urban Vernal Pool
  22. 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. 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. 24. Excellent Good Fair Poor
  25. 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. 26. Limitations on Amphibian Communities with Urban Vernal Pools • Intensive surrounding land uses • Lack of buffers • Isolation from other patches of habitat
  27. 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. 28. State of Vernal Pool Habitat in Ohio
  29. 29. Thank You!!!

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