Thursday, April 18, 2024

Looking for Vernal Pools

Looking for Vernal Pools

VERNAL POOLS AND PONDS are easily confused. On this site, I am working with these definitions:
  • POND - natural or manmade body of water in a low spot; filled by rain, drainage or pumping 
  • VERNAL POOL  - natural body of water in a depression on a mound ("perched" water table); filled by rainfall

Please refer to the illustration below:

Vernal pools are considered a characteristic feature of Mediterranean climatesThey are small, shallow seasonal bodies of water that appear after rains come, and they support plant and animal life capable of going dormant when the water dries up. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency,

"The term vernal pool originally referred to small, intermittently-filled wetlands found in the Mediterranean climate of the western United States. Today it is used broadly to include  small ephemeral wetlands found nation-wide."

San Diego County has tens of thousands of vernal pools! I will not be visiting all of them, but will focus seeing on a few areas that are densely "inhabited". Because their active lives can be quite short, I will report after rainy periods (like this week)! Please refer to the list on the right side of this page --->

Click to visit:

LAKE / RESERVOIR        POND            VERNAL POOL (this page)         HOME

The images below show vernal pools at the Riverside S / San Diego County N boundary

Many vernal pools appear around San Diego in the winter, 
and I will be adding more images as I find them.
Unlike the other bodies of fresh water, 
I can't tell you exactly where or when to find them.

Often a military base is the best place,
as commercial development is restricted on or near the bases
and the pools (innocuous or invisible in the summer) can survive.

In the less environmentally sensitive era of my youth,
 some San Diego developers would bulldoze 
through these low spots and build on them. 
Now pools are protected; you can find signs like these, 
and small fenced areas which protect the pools. 

The sign refers to the vernal pool and its inhabitants.

For this website, I will list pools I have found and photographed, 
and group them by location. See the list at the right of this screen ->
Naturally the best time to visit is after a few rains!