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Monday, January 29 • 4:00pm - 4:20pm
SYMPOSIA-02: Assessing Vernal Pools for Informed Decision Making in Resource Management

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AUTHORS. Némesis Ortiz-Declet, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Desiree Robertson-Thompson, Great Lakes Research & Education Center, National Park Service

ABSTRACT. The Future Park Leaders of Emerging Change program is a partnership between the NPS Climate Change Response Program and the University of Washington, College of the Environment.  The program supports paid internships to highly accomplished undergraduate and graduate students and recent graduates to work in national parks for approximately 12 weeks on diverse issues related to emerging management issues driven by global drivers of change and related effects. The NPS has supplied almost $1.5 million over the past five years to support these internships. During the summer of 2017, Great Lakes Research and Education Center hosted an intern at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore to identify, inventory, and characterize vernal pools and assess their vulnerability to climate change.  Vernal pools are small, shallow, isolated, ephemeral ponds that change in volume in response to varying weather patterns. These wetlands are important for maintaining healthy forest ecosystems by providing critical breeding habitat for amphibians, invertebrates and other organisms. With expected climate-induced changes in precipitation and temperature regimes, vernal pools are at risk of either becoming more established permanent wetlands or permanently drying up. Each vernal pool is different, and some will be more at risk than others.  A total of 31 vernal pools previously identified using remote sensing were located, surveyed, and assessed to determine which characteristics make them more or less resilient to climate change. Additionally, field-verified vernal pools were compared to those predicted by remote sensing techniques, to evaluate their precision and accuracy in identifying vernal pools. Through this partnership, the intern connected with park resources, gained experience working with a federal agency, and built leadership skills. At the same time, park resource managers gained valuable information on a high-priority management issue.

Monday January 29, 2018 4:00pm - 4:20pm
102A

Attendees (2)