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2003 Vernal Pool Survey Training Seminars


The Division of Fish and Wildlife's Endangered and Nongame Species Program (ENSP) is looking for dedicated volunteers to collect important data on critical habitats for reptiles and amphibians.

An effort to identify and certify all of the state's vernal pools is currently underway by the ENSP and a dedicated group of volunteers. If you would like to volunteer by conducting salamander and frog surveys at a vernal pool near you, please attend one of the upcoming vernal pool volunteer training seminars, which are scheduled for the first two Saturdays in March. Our capacity is limited at each of the training seminars, therefore we ask that only serious individuals willing to devote at least 40 volunteer hours towards surveying this spring sign up.

Marbled salamander

Throughout the winter and early spring, water collects in wetland depressions in forests and meadows forming temporary pools that remain through early summer. These seasonal wetlands, known as vernal pools, are critical habitats for several species of amphibians that rely upon them for breeding.

Due to their temporary nature, vernal pools do not contain fish, which make them ideal locations for amphibians to lay their eggs since the larvae can grow and develop with a lower risk of predation. New Jersey has five species of salamanders and two species of frogs that breed only in vernal pools. Twenty-one other amphibian and reptile species will use vernal pools but can also successfully reproduce in habitats that contain fish. In addition to serving as amphibian breeding habitat, vernal pools are a source of forage, refuge and water for a multitude of mammals, birds, insects and other wildlife.

The number of healthy, ecologically intact vernal pools has declined significantly over the past several decades in New Jersey as a result of the development of rural areas. The loss of this critical habitat has consequently put the species that depend on vernal pools for breeding habitat at risk. To stave off the destruction of vernal pools, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection recently adopted regulations that afford them protection under the state Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act. In a nutshell, all activities within a vernal pool that meet specific biological and physical criteria are now regulated.

Training Seminar 1

Date: March 1, 2003
Pequest Trout Hatchery, Oxford, NJ
Time: 9:00 - 12:00 Lecture; 1:00 - 3:00 Field
Capacity: 100 persons

Training Seminar 2

Date: March 8, 2003
Place: Assunpink Wildlife Management Area Conservation Center, Roosevelt, NJ
Time: 9:00 - 12:00 Lecture; 1:00 - 3:00 Field
Capacity: 50 persons

To register, please send the following information to

- Training seminar you wish to attend
- Names of attendee(s)
- Mailing address
- Email address
- Phone number

Your registration email will be followed by an email confrimation of registration and driving directions to the appropriate seminar.

If you do not have access to email you can register by calling 908 735-8975.

For more information:
2002 Update
New Jersey's Vernal Pools
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