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Published on Jun 20, 2012
Every spring vernal pools are created in the forest when naturally-occurring depressions in the landscape temporarily fill up with water from snow melt and overland runoff. These vernal pools typically dry up by early summer, but before they do they serve as an essential breeding ground and habitat to many species, including the spotted salamander, blue-spotted salamander, wood frog and fairy shrimp. Because vernal pools are temporary, they do not contain predatory year-round species that would eat or damage those eggs and the very young that develop. Plum Creek and Sewall Co. are working together to map vernal pools in the 363,000-acre Moosehead Lake Region Conservation Easement in Maine. The mapping project, one of the largest of its kind in the world, uses 3-D infrared technology to provide Plum Creek wildlife biologists with a tool to help identify potential aquatic breeding areas and thus help guide forest management practices in order to protect wildlife.