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  • Assignment 7- Starr
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1. For this project, I intend to utilize GIS to determine potential vernal pool locations. This will be helpful in establishing areas in which to search for vernal pools. Vernal pools are seasonal pools that provide breeding habitat for frogs and salamanders, many of which are endangered. As such, certified pools are afforded much state protection. Since they are seasonal and do not connect to a permanent water source, they are not mapped on classic maps, and must be certified to exist on state maps and receive protection. By identifying potential locations for these pools, the search for them can be more defined and hopefully result in more pools being identified and protected.

2. Examples:

        New Jersey is currently using GIS technology to identify potential vernal pools. The state agency is using layers such as bedrock geology, soil, and distance from known vernal pools to locate areas of high potential occurrence and then visually examining orthosphotos of the area to further determine the likelihood of a pool being present.
        Scientists in Oregon were able to identify 59 polygons of potential vernal pool habitat and rank them as low, medium, or high possibility of occurrence based on land morphology, soils, ownership, and rare species habitat.
    3) Applying Economic and Ecological Principles to Identify
    Vernal Pool Conservation Reserves
        This paper focuses on identifying potential conservation locations in Rhode Island, but used GIS to measure the breeding output of vernal pools and their relative distances to one another.
    The town of Greenwich, CT has begun to use hydro, topo, wetland, and photo GIS layers to identify potential vernal pools is conjunction with field research.

3. The main geological feature of the pools is their location on low-lying areas with no connection to a water source. Analysis will be done with overlays to determine areas with the set of criteria that best match the criteria common to vernal pools. Analysis will be similar to the analysis performed in Exercise 2 of the 'Using Spatial Analyst' tutorial. The analysis will take into account slope of the area, proximity of structures, proximity of water sources, and land use. A site selected to likely have a vernal pool will include little to no slope, a distance of 100 yards from another structure, a distance of 25 feet (if data allows) from a water source, and a land use of open space or protected land. Comparison between the analysis and state provided potential vernal pool site layer may be done if possible and applicable.

4. Data Sets:
    All available from MassGIS

    -Land Use
    -Elevation Contours (1:5,000)
    -Hydrography (1:25,000)
    -DEP Wetlands (1:12,000)
    -Surface Water Supply Watersheds
    -Community Boundaries (Towns)
    -NHESP Potential Vernal Pools

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