[Okay, all these photos are tidal pools not vernal pools, but it’s all I could find in my photo stream (these taken at the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland) and more evidence of their disappearance!]
Vernal pools are small seasonal pools that generally form following the spring snow melt and the autumn fall rains, ephemeral wetlands that create a breeding habitat for amphibians like frogs and salamanders.
Vernal pool inhabitants generally get their start in these shallow waters before moving to drier ground. Vernal pools provide a predator-free environment without which many of these critters wouldn’t survive.
As with all of nature many vernal pools are at risk due to overdevelopment which isolates not just the pool and the creatures getting their start there, but also weakens the gene pool through a lack of diversity.
Agricultural, urban and suburban stormwater runoff — all loaded with contaminants — are another stressor, as is climate change due to the variable and unpredictable nature of the weather, while water’s formerly robust legal protections, like the pools themselves, are slowly drifting away.
What happens to water happens to people. It’s time for us to act, or we’re going to have to plan accordingly.
Today is Day 22 of the #AtoZ blog challenge. I’m feeling a bit parched. How about you?