Agenda: April 2014 Vernal Pool Mapping and Conservation Workshop
Vernal Pool Mapping and Conservation Workshop
Held in conjunction with the 2014 Northeast Natural History Conference
Date: Monday, April 7, 2014
Time: Noon to 5:30 pm (includes lunch)
Download this agenda and background materials
The purpose of this workshop is to introduce the North Atlantic Vernal Pool Data Cooperative (VPDC) and provide a forum for participation in its development. Specific goals are to:
1. describe the project’s overall approach to managing and mapping vernal pool information;
2. explore the scientific and conservation applications of a regionally coordinated dataset;
3. incorporate your input into the VPDC process and products in order to best meet your information needs; and
4. provide a forum for networking among vernal pool enthusiasts and professionals.
12:00 Gathering and Luncheon Buffet
12:45 Welcome and Introductions (Steve Faccio and Scott Schwenk)
1:00 Workshop Goals and Process (Dan Lambert)
1:15 Panel: What is the North Atlantic Vernal Pool Data Cooperative?
Compilation of Existing Vernal Pool Location Data
Steve Faccio, senior conservation biologist at the Vermont Center for Ecostudies, will describe a two-year process for identifying and compiling vernal pool location data in the North Atlantic region. He will also propose a general strategy for data integration, management, and dissemination.
Remote Sensing of Vernal Pools
Sean MacFaden, senior geospatial analyst at the University of Vermont Spatial Analysis Lab, will present a method to identify potential vernal pools using Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology and object-based image analysis. He will also describe plans to pilot this technique in two study areas within the North Atlantic region.
A Handbook for Coordinated Mapping of Vernal Pools
Dan Lambert, consulting ecologist at High Branch Conservation Services, will outline a document that will provide VPDC cooperators guidance on aligning vernal pool mapping efforts. He will also solicit input on the handbook in order to ensure its practical value to wildlife, wetland, and conservation professionals.
2:00 Facilitated Discussion of the Vernal Pool Data Cooperative
2:30 Refreshment / Coffee Break
2:45 Vernal Pool Mapping for Science, Management, and Conservation
The North Atlantic LCC Conservation Planning Atlas: A Tool to Deliver Vernal Pool Information
BJ Richardson, Science Applications GIS Coordinator for the North Atlantic LCC, will introduce this online platform, which provides easy access to high-quality geospatial datasets, maps and information to facilitate partner-driven conservation. He will demonstrate the Atlas’ various functions (display, analysis, and download), using vernal pool data from Vermont.
Designing Sustainable Landscapes
Scott Schwenk, Science Coordinator for the North Atlantic LCC, will describe how standardized habitat data are being used to assess the region’s capability to sustain wildlife populations in the face of urban growth, changing climate, and other disturbances. He will also discuss the potential to enhance landscape-level modeling with vernal pool data.
Scientific and Management Applications of Regional Vernal Pool Data
Dan Lambert will lead an information synthesis and brainstorming exercise to document existing and potential uses of vernal pool data for science, management, and conservation.
3:30 Facilitated Discussion of Scientific, Management, and Conservation Applications
3:45 Survey to Identify Information Sources and Gaps
Participants will be invited to provide basic information about existing vernal pool datasets on a written questionnaire. Respondents will also be asked to identify specific areas (e.g., counties, watersheds, ecoregions) where increased knowledge of vernal pool locations is a critical conservation need. This information will help VPDC project leaders prioritize data recruitment and geospatial modeling efforts.
4:00 Breakout Discussions
Small-group discussions will be organized around the following themes and questions in order to achieve the stated objectives. Participants will be asked to identify their preferred topic and review draft materials before the meeting to ensure that the discussions are productive.
Data and Metadata Standards (Steve Faccio)
Objective: reach consensus on required and optional VPDC data and metadata fields
• What required data fields should form the core of the VPDC?
• What optional data fields should be included to add value?
• What metadata standards would ensure essential documentation w/out discouraging participation?
• What other useful information could VPDC cooperators provide?
Data Access and Visualization (Kent McFarland and BJ Richardson)
Objective: establish unified guidelines for securing, exchanging, and visualizing location data
• What data access and visualization capabilities do stakeholders need?
• Can the NALCC Conservation Planning Atlas provide this functionality?
• How will prospective users learn that restricted data exist and may be available by permission?
• Do the proposed data access levels meet security and accessibility needs?
• Should VPDC participants have the option of obscuring location information in visual displays?
• If so, at what scales should the information be presented?
Defining “Vernal Pool” (Dan Lambert)
Objective: develop standards for classifying the small wetlands that will be considered “vernal pools” for the purposes of this mapping project
• What are the physical and biological attributes of the wetlands that will be mapped as “vernal pools”?
• Which of the region’s diverse wetland types can feature these characteristics?
• How should these wetland communities be defined?
Selecting Variables to Model Potential Vernal Pool Locations (Sean MacFaden)
Objective: develop a list of variables and source datasets that could be incorporated into the regional vernal pool geospatial model
• What landscape and site characteristics influence vernal pool habitat quality?
• Which of the suggested variables should be included in the modeling process?
• What variables should be added?
• What is the role of vernal pool experts in future model development and/or validation?
5:00 Breakout Reporting and Wrap-Up
The Vermont Center for Ecostudies is coordinating the Vernal Pool Data Cooperative with funds from the North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative. The project’s advisors and collaborators include representatives from: Clemson University, High Branch Conservation Services, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, NatureServe, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Paul Smith’s College, Siena College, the University of Maine, and the University of Vermont.