Learning How to Certify a Vernal Pool
Education was a main thrust for the GCT this year, and we offered many activities to engage our community. In April, the GCT helped locate two newly certified vernal pools on our Throne Hill properties. Our second vernal pool walk with Pat Huckery and Jennifer Jones from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife provided the opportunity. Kids and adults waded along with the naturalists as they collected data to submit to The Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program. As a result of these efforts, Throne Hill is now home to a total of seven certified vernal pools, with the potential for more. This land and its vernal pools preserve critical connectivity among large protected open areas associated with the Squannacook River to the west and the Nashua River to the east.
Certification provides protection for vernal pools under several state and federal laws. Originally defined and protected under the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act, Certified Vernal Pools now also receive protection under the Federal Clean Water Act, the Massachusetts Surface Water Quality Standards and the Massachusetts Forest Cutting Practices Act. As we enter an era of large-scale species extinction around the globe, it is useful to remember that these regulations help prevent adverse impacts on many unique habitats that are critical to the survival of common and state-listed rare species.
Your membership helps our all-volunteer board protect ecologically important areas and provide public access to over forty pristine conservation properties comprising 1,400 acres in Groton. Since our last annual report to you we have accomplished quite a bit: we reached a record level in membership; executed on a number of field reclamation projects; increased our educational programs with specialty hikes and a tree ID hiking program; lent our support to protect the Gilson Parcel; sold parcels in Lost Lake to help our neighbors, fulfilling the donor’s bequest and our own mission; enhanced our website with property maps and history; and improved the maintenance of fields and meadows.
Your support not only protects special places, it ensures that you will receive invitations to all our events like the ones mentioned here. If you are already a member, now is the time to renew your commitment. We are grateful to all our generous supporters.
Thanks to people like you, conservation is working in Groton!