Vernal Pools

Vernal pools, or seasonal pools, are a unique type of wetland habitat. They are typically small, shallow, ephemeral water bodies, and unlike a pond or a lake, they have no permanent inlet or outlet. They are filled each spring by rain and snow melt, then dry up for a period of time during the summer. These qualities of vernal pools distinguish them from other wetlands, and they support several species of animals that require these temporary wetland habitats for survival.

This site provides information on many aspects of vernal pool ecology, conservation, and management. Explore the website to find:

  • Information on vernal pool animals and their identification
  • Best management practices for landowners with vernal pools
  • Educational presentation on vernal pool identification and conservation
  • How to register a vernal pool
  • State and federal laws that protect vernal pools

Register a Pool

Participate in our citizen-based program to document the location of vernal pools.


Vernal Pool Database

A database of vernal pools in Pennsylvania. See a map of the vernal pools in our database.


Vernal Pool Ecology

A description of the vegetation, soils, geology and hydrology associated with vernal pools.


Vernal Pool Animals

Information on vernal pool animals and their identification.


Threats to Vernal Pools

Discover human activities that can disturb or destroy vernal pools and how to protect them.


Conservation and Management

Best management practices for landowners with vernal pools.


Federal and State Regulations

Learn about federal and state protective regulations for vernal pools and access regulations and permitting links.



View educational materials and access the vernal pool glossary and links to other resources.

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