Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station [Rutgers Environmental Stewards]

South Jersey Vernal Pool Project

Host Agency Info: South Jersey Land & Water Trust
Address: PO Box 233 Glassboro, NJ 08028
Phone: (856) 881-2269
Supervisor Name: Michael Hogan
E-mail of supervisor: hoganphoto@verizon.net
Nature of Host Agency (circle): Non-profit
Project Description: The “ South Jersey Vernal Pool Project” conducts surveys of vernal pools in Gloucester and Salem counties to document their existence and the presence of particular species, leading to their certification by the State of New Jersey. These sites are threatened by the extensive development occurring in southern Gloucester and northern Salem counties because they are not well documented, certified, protected, and/or known to state agencies or to local municipal officials. Data from the Vernal Pool Project goes directly to the Endangered and Nongame Species Program of NJ DEP for certification and possible protection.

Vernal pools are confined wetland depressions, either natural or man-made, that hold water for at least two consecutive months out of the year and are devoid of breeding fish populations. These unique ecosystems provide habitat to many endangered species of amphibians, insects, reptiles, plants, and other wildlife.

In order for the NJDEP’s Land Use Regulation Program to utilize your data to certify a vernal habitat, and thereby protect it, there are four possible requirements that must be satisfied. They all pertain to the definition of a vernal pool.

1. The area occurs in a defined basin depression without a permanent flowing outlet.

2. The pool features evidence of breeding by one or more species of fauna adapted to reproduce in vernal pools.

3. The area maintains ponded water for at least two continuous months between

March and September of a normal rainfall year.

4. The pool is free of fish throughout the year, or dries up at some time during the year.

SJLWT staff and trained volunteers conduct field research to identify vernal pools that satisfy the requirements listed above for protection.

Position Description:
SJLWT is seeking an intern to assist in gathering vernal pool data and to assist in the management of our SJ Vernal Pool Project.

The intern will be responsible for:

Identify a vernal pool for survey from Rutgers CRSSA mapping website

Survey pools for correct location and document presence of species and water

Revisit the pool throughout a two-month period to document the presence of water from March to September

Input data reports into Rutgers database

Solicit volunteers to attend training

Assist in preparation of training in March (if participating during this time)

Assist program manger with field and volunteer duties

Assist in PR for program

Nature of anticipated impact: Social, Environmental

Evaluation Plan:
SJLWT will evaluate the success of the intern based on the number of vernal pools identified. SJLWT goal is to identify 75 vernal pools within the region. In project year 2007, 57 possible vernal pools were identified by staff and volunteers and are currently under review for state certification.

In addition, the intern will complete the entry of all information gathered on vernal pools to the Endangered and Nongame Species Program of NJ DEP.

These results will be summarized and reported to the Rutgers Environmental steward program as requested.

Learning Objectives in plan:
The intern will have a firm knowledge of how to identify vernal pools from assisting and attending a training, soliciting volunteers, managing volunteers and collecting data.

SJLWT is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that has been working since 1991 to preserve and protect the land and water resources of Southern New Jersey. For more information about our work, please visit our website at www.sjlandwater.org

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