About 20% of Lewisboro is made up of wetland soil. Much of this is forested with red maples (see red maple swamp) and a small amount of it is open (see open wet meadow). Vernal pools, on the other hand, are small, seasonal, temporary wetlands that are typically surrounded by drier, wooded land. They have no continual source of water and instead are fed by rains and snow melt. Because they dry up in summer, fish cannot live in them, which make them ideal nurseries for wildlife that would otherwise be eaten by fish.
Many amphibians and reptiles can only reproduce in these small wetlands. They include wood frogs, spotted, Jefferson, blue spotted and marble spotted salamanders and fairy shrimp. Other species that can breed in permanent wetlands and vernal pools include spring peepers, red spotted newt, American toad and wood and spotted turtles.
Look out for
Plants surrounding vernal pools include red maple, elm, ash, tupelo trees and sweet pepperbush, winterberry, blueberry, nannyberrry, viburnum and spicebush shrubs.
What you can do
Help to maintain biodiversity through education, support of environmental regulations and preservation of open space.
This fascinating article is highly recommended!
Which Lewisboro Preserves Have this Habitat?
Did You Know?
Many of the species that live and breed in vernal pools are in steep population decline due to the filling in of vernal pools. It is estimated that 50% of the wetlands in the United States have been filled in since the 1700’s and presumably at least an equal amount of vernal pools have been lost. One reason for the loss of vernal pools is the lack of adequate regulatory protection. Federal wetland regulations have recently been weakened to protect only those wetlands directly connected to navigable waterways.
New York State only protects large wetlands greater than 12.4 acres. Vernal pools are much smaller than this. Many towns in our area only protect larger wetlands, those greater than .25 acres in size, leaving vernal pools vulnerable. Fortunately, Lewisboro in theory regulates even small wetlands, giving some oversight to development of vernal pools.