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Caleb Lewis
Caleb Lewis

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What Are Vernal Pools?Vernal pools are confined wetland depressions, either natural or man-made, that hold water for at least two consecutive months out of the year and are devoid of breeding fish populations. Here in New Jersey, rural portions of the Skylands, Piedmont, and Coastal Plain landscapes are home to the majority of our vernal pools. These unique ecosystems provide habitat to many species of amphibians, insects, reptiles, plants, and other wildlife.Vernal pools come in an array of forms: isolated depressions within upland forests, seasonally flooded meadows, floodplain swamps, abandoned gravel pits or quarries, and even derelict swimming pools. However, no matter what the structure or genesis of the pool is, all vernal pools either dry out completely or draw down to very shallow levels unsuitable for sustaining fish. Fish are highly predatory on amphibian eggs and larvae. Over the course of evolution, several species of salamanders and frogs exploited these fish-less water bodies. Today, these species exhibit "hard-wired" instincts and behaviors that are geared exclusively towards fish-free vernal habitats. Amphibians that are dependent upon vernal pools are known as "obligate vernal pool breeders." In New Jersey there are seven species - two frogs and five salamanders - that fit this category. Another 14 of New Jersey's amphibians also use vernal pools for breeding, but unlike the 'obligate' species, these species can successfully reproduce in habitats that contain fish. These species are known as "facultative vernal pool breeders." Obligate and Facultative Vernal Pool Breeding Amphibians:Obligate Vernal Pool Breeding Amphibians:Eastern tiger salamander (Ambystoma t. tigrinum) EndangeredMarbled salamander (A. opacum) Special ConcernSpotted salamander (A. maculatum)Jefferson salamander (A. jeffersonianum) Special ConcernBlue-spotted salamander (A. laterale) Endangered Wood frog (Rana sylvatica)Eastern spadefoot toad (Scaphiopus holbrookii) Facultative Vernal Pool Breeding Amphibians: Green frog (Rana clamitans melanota)Bullfrog (R. catesbiana)Pickerel frog (R. palustris)Southern leopard frog (R. utricularia)Carpenter frog (R.virgatipes) Special ConcernNorthern cricket frog (Acris crepitans)Northern spring peeper (Psuedacris crucifer)New Jersey chorus frog (P. triseriata kalmii)Upland chorus frog (P. triseriata ferarium)Northern gray treefrog (Hyla versicolor)Southern gray treefrog (H. chrysocelis) Endangered Pine Barrens treefrog (H. andersonii) ThreatenedFour-toed salamander (Hemidactylium scutatum)Long-tailed salamander (Eurycea l. longicauda) ThreatenedAmerican toad (Bufo americanus)Fowler's Toad (B. fowlerii) Special ConcernIn addition to amphibians, there are several reptiles that inhabit vernal pools on a seasonal basis, primarily to eat the eggs and larvae of amphibians: Wood turtle (Glyptemys insculpta) ThreatenedSpotted turtle (Clemmys guttata) Special ConcernMud turtle (Kinosternon subrubrum)Eastern painted turtle (Chrysemys picta picta)Common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina serpentina)(Definitions for Endangered, Threatened and Special Concern)The Vernal Pool Survey ProjectThrough grants provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife and the DEP's Division of Science, Research and Technology, the Endangered and Nongame Species Program (ENSP) initiated the Vernal Pool Survey Project in November 2000. The main objectives of this project are to map and inventory vernal pools statewide and determine the status, range and distribution of obligate (dependent upon) vernal pool amphibians. Because staff resources are limited, the ENSP is relying primarily on trained volunteers to conduct herptile surveys at vernal pools. As data is collected on vernal pools, the information is integrated into the land use regulatory databases of the Department of Environmental Protection to implement vernal pool protection.How Does the DEP Implement Vernal Pool Protection?The primary way in which DEP's Land Use Regulation Program (LURP) is implementing vernal pool protection is through cross-referencing land use permit applications with mapping of certified vernal pools. When a permit is applied for, LURP staff will review maps showing all locations of certified vernal pools. Projects proposed within or surrounding vernal pools may need to be redesigned to avoid adversely impacting them or the permit may potentially be denied. However, this protection can only be applied to vernal pools that have been previously certified. Thus vernal pool protection in New Jersey is highly dependent upon the generation of a comprehensive map of all the certified vernal pools in the state.The other method in which DEP intends to protect vernal pools is through the Landscape Project. This statewide digital mapping, available online since fall 2001, contains critical habitat for all of New Jersey's endangered, threatened, and special concern animals. The intended purpose of this mapping is to guide sensible land use planning at the state, county and municipal level. Once mapped and inventoried, vernal pools will be incorporated as a data layer into these critical habitat maps. Identifying Vernal Pools The critical process of locating potential vernal pools for survey begins at the Center for Remote Sensing and Spatial Analysis (CRSSA) lab at Cook College, Rutgers University. Using a collection of computer-aided analysis techniques and field surveys, GIS analysts have been delineating potential vernal pool locations in New Jersey. The Center has compiled a number of GIS (Geographic Information Systems) abiotic data layers (including soils, wetlands, glacial sediment, and bedrock geology information) to be used in conjunction with digital elevation models and color aerial photographs to identify on-screen regions where vernal pools are likely to occur. Vernal pool likelihood is based on existing vernal pool locations. Various GIS methods have been used to identify and rank areas in each data layer based on vernal pool occurrence. This procedure, which seems to identify areas where large vernal pools are likely to occur, is followed by intensive on-screen scanning of 1-meter digital aerial photographs used to locate smaller potential vernal pool locations.While this research is performed, an interactive Internet mapping site has been developed to enable volunteers and the public to locate potential vernal pools and introduce new volunteers to the project. The site features digital aerial photography as well as other mapping resources aimed at assisting users unfamiliar with aerial imagery. Find this exciting vernal pool information at Pool Survey Project UpdateVernal Pool Volunteer Training Presentation - (pdf, 2.8mb)ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONReptiles and Amphibians in New Jersey Online Field Guide for Reptiles and Amphibians - Information on 71 New Jersey species Herp Atlas ProjectReptiles and Amphibians of NJ Teacher Resource Package Some files on this site require adobe acrobat pdf reader to view. download the free pdf reader division of fish & wildlife: home links contact f&w department: njdep home about dep index by topic programs/units dep online statewide: njhome citizen business government services A to Z departments search

  • Report On Monday, 24 June 2013, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security tabled its report entitled Report of the Inquiry into Potential Reforms of Australia's National Security Legislation. To view or print the report, you will need Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader, which can be downloaded free of charge from Adobe. Report accessibility:Single chapter version downloads

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If you have difficulty accessing the report, please contact the Committee Secretariat.This report is comprised of preliminary pages, 5 chapters and 8 appendices.Report of the Inquiry into Potential Reforms of Australia's National Security LegislationPreliminary pages (PDF 233KB)Contents, Foreword, Committee Membership, Terms of Reference, List of Abbreviations, List of Recommendations and Glossary 350c69d7ab


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