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Vernal Pool Workshop for Foresters, Loggers, Code Enforcement Officers and Teachers

Posted April 16, 2013, at 3:03 p.m.
Last modified April 16, 2013, at 5:02 p.m.

Although vernal pools provide critical breeding habitat for rare amphibians and state-listed endangered or threatened species, these pools also provide essential benefits to the larger ecosystems where they are located. Therefore, it is important to understand how proper management can best maintain the fragile biodiversity of these pools and the surrounding terrestrial habitat. On Saturday, April 27th, the Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District (PCSWCD), in partnership with the Maine Forest Service (MFS), will present a technical training for foresters, loggers, municipal code enforcement officers and teachers so that participants can identify, monitor and manage vernal pool ecosystems in compliance with forestry habitat management guidelines and current regulations.

The Vernal Pool Workshop will begin at 9 a.m. at the PCSWCD, in the USDA Service Center located in the Pine Crest Business Park at 42 Engdahl Drive, Dover Foxcroft. The training will be led by Gordon Moore, MFS District Forester and by David Rocque, Maine State Soil Scientist of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. Moore’s extensive career has included presentations throughout the State of Maine on identifying vernal pools and applying forestry habitat management guidelines based on characteristics unique to vernal pool habitats. Rocque is highly regarded for his expertise in wetlands soils identification and management, and third party evaluations for state and local regulatory staff, including code enforcement officers. The classroom session will address natural history, wetlands delineation and conservation management.

A field training session at one or more local vernal pools will demonstrate how various combinations of snowmelt, precipitation and high water tables associated with the spring season influence vernal pool characteristics that vary greatly in terms of geology and hydrology. The ponds tend to occur in small depressions and while many dry up in late summer, some retain water year round. Some vernal pools do not meet the statutory definition of wetlands; these will be addressed during the workshop. Since 2007, “significant vernal pool habitat” has been protected by the Natural Resources Protection Act. Rocque and Moore will discuss how regulations and guidelines can be applied to working practices of foresters, loggers and code enforcement officers to protect vernal pools.

This course is approved for the master logger “Continuous Improvement Goal.” Credits for foresters, certified logging professionals and teachers also may be available. Dress for the field, including rubber boots. Waders are good, but we will also be doing some hiking to vernal pool sites. Suggested donation for this workshop is $10.00 and pre-registration is required by April 23rd by contacting the PCSWCD at 564-2321, extension 3 or info@piscataquisswcd.org.

The Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District is a partner agency of Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), located at the USDA Service Center in Dover-Foxcroft, and provides natural resource education and technical services to promote practices that maintain our quality of life. All district programs are offered on a nondiscriminatory basis, without regard to race, national origin, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, marital or familial status, political beliefs, or disabilities. PCSWCD & NRCS are equal opportunity providers and employers.

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