Vernal Pool Classification, Assessment, and Monitoring in Michigan

Vernal Pool Classification, Assessment, and Monitoring in Michigan (INT)
Yu Man Lee, Daria Hyde, Michigan Natural Features Inventory
Additional Contributors: Peter Badra, Brian Klatt, Michael Monfils, Edward Schools; Michael Penskar (retired), Michigan Natural Features Inventory

Despite their small size and temporary nature, vernal pools can be incredibly diverse and productive ecosystems. Vernal pools provide important habitat for many wildlife species, including some species that depend on these unique wetlands for their survival. Vernal pool ecology, including species composition and richness, may differ dramatically among pools across the state and within a local area. Little information is currently available on the status and ecology of vernal pools in the state. To gain a better understanding of this, we proposed and evaluated a framework for classifying, assessing, and monitoring vernal pools in the state. We collected baseline information on the physical and biological characteristics, including soils, water chemistry, vegetation, and amphibian, invertebrate, and bat use, of vernal pools in several regions across the state. We also have piloted a volunteer vernal pool mapping and monitoring program to verify and collect information about vernal pools in the field.

Yu Man Lee, Michigan Natural Features Inventory
Yu Man Lee is a conservation scientist with the Michigan Natural Features Inventory (MNFI), a program of Michigan State University Extension. Her primary areas of responsibility at MNFI include conducting surveys, research and monitoring for rare amphibians and reptiles across the state; helping to maintain Michigan's Natural Heritage Database; and providing technical assistance to inform biodiversity conservation and management in Michigan. Her recent projects include identifying, mapping and assessing vernal pools on state and national forest lands; conducting inventories for rare amphibian and reptile species on state game areas; monitoring the federally threatened copperbelly watersnake using occupancy modeling; assessing climate change vulnerability of rare species; and conducting a wood turtle nest protection and habitat improvement project. Prior to joining MNFI in 1997, Yu Man received a BS in natural resources from the University of Michigan's School of Natural Resources and an MS in wildlife science from Oregon State University.

Daria Hyde, Michigan Natural Features Inventory
Daria Hyde has worked at Michigan Natural Features Inventory for 20 years as a conservation scientist conducting surveys and promoting the protection of Michigan's rare species and natural communities. Daria has developed and delivered educational materials, programs and products to promote greater understanding and protection of Michigan's declining wildlife species and natural communities, including books, species abstracts, conservation plans and green infrastructure plans. She has conducted applied research focused on biodiversity conservation and has worked with agencies, local units of government and other interested parties to help them incorporate natural resource protection into their planning efforts. Recently she has worked with partners to develop citizen science programs to increase the capacity of local stewards to conduct surveys and monitor threats to plant and animals within Michigan's native communities. Daria received a BS in wildlife management from Michigan State University and an MS in conservation biology from Central Michigan University.