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Protection for Vernal Pools

Due to their small size and temporary nature, vernal pools are often overlooked when it comes to wetland and habitat protection. This results in the loss of biodiversity hotspots, and a loss of extremely important ecological functions.


In the United States, loss of wetlands has been fairly well-documented, but the loss of temporary and ephemeral wetlands, such as vernal pools, is less well understood.


Some states, such as Masachusetts, Maine, and New Jersey, do provide some protection for vernal pools, and there is also some protection for vernal pools through the federal Clean Water Act.


Protection of vernal pools is pretty complex. These pages are not meant to be a complete explanation of every possible scenario.

The Vernal Pools Association is located in Massachusetts and our discussion will be about protection in Massachusetts.

Special Note on diseases affecting vernal pool organisms

Vernal pools throughout Massachusetts and other areas are increasingly showing signs of infection by ranavirus and other pathogens that negatively affect a variety of wildlife. Please take the time to view the Northeast Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (NEPARC) video on sanitizing field gear on our Decontamination page.

vernal pool in right-of-way
vernal pool damaged by pipeline project
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