You may have seen small pools of water that appear from spring to fall and tend to disappear in the winter. These are vernal pools and there are quite a few in the Blue Hills. Reservation. Vernal pools play an important role as a home and breeding ground for many species. How can you help protect these delicate ecosystems?
- Keep out! This means don’t throw rocks or sticks in the pools and don’t let your dogs play in the water. Vernal pool species, such as frogs and salamanders, make nests and lay eggs in these pools and strong, unnatural disruptions in the water might kill the eggs or destroy the nests.
- Watch out for “Big Night” and help these creatures on their way. During the first few warm nights of the season, frogs and salamanders will migrate from their winter lodgings in the hills down into the pools so that they can mate and lay eggs. We call this mass movement “Big Night” and it is busy and noisy! This migration can be exciting to see, but it’s important that we do not disrupt, catch, or misguide these animals from their destination.
- Report new vernal pools. In Massachusetts, vernal pools are afforded government protection from development. Reporting a vernal pool to the MA State Government means that you need to know the exact location of the pool, and you must document the fact that it is a vernal pool—such as by providing photos or video footage of unique vernal pool species, such as frogs and salamanders. Be sure to include the time and date of when this footage was captured. You can submit this via mail or online on the MA State Government website.
The Blue Hills are home to many vernal pools. They are budding with life in the early and mid-spring and are the perfect place to take the kids to learn about these precious organisms. Typically, vernal pools are loud and buzzing with activity. Let us know if you’ve visited a vernal pool lately and what kinds of creatures you saw!