Vernal Pool Patrol Monitoring Protocol
The Vernal Pool Patrol collects data on vernal pools following a standard monitoring protocol. The monitoring protocol consists of first identifying a vernal pool or potential vernal pool to visit and monitor in the field. You can check the statewide vernal pool database to find a vernal pool near you that needs monitoring, or contact the state or local Vernal Pool Patrol program coordinator for assistance.
Once you have identified and located a vernal pool to verify and monitor, the protocol consists of visiting the pool three times, twice in the spring (late March – May) and once in late summer or early fall (August – early October) to verify drying. During each visit, you will collect information about the physical and biological characteristics of the pool you are monitoring, including the presence and amount of water, plants, and animals in the pool, particularly the presence of vernal pool indicator species such as fairy shrimp, spotted salamanders, blue-spotted salamanders, and wood frogs. Data will be collected using the Volunteer Vernal Pool Monitoring Data Form.
Complete data forms and photos taken in the field will be submitted to your local and to the state Vernal Pool Patrol program coordinator. The data and photos will be entered into the statewide vernal pool database. This database will be publicly accessible, and will be utilized by government agencies, conservation groups, consultants, landowners, and other stakeholders and partners to inform and guide management and conservation of vernal pools.
The Vernal Pool Patrol monitoring protocol is described in detail in the Vernal Pool Patrol Volunteer Training Manual for citizen scientists and for educators and students. We strongly encourage you to attend a vernal pool training workshop before you start collecting data in the field.