It’s VP time, people.
It was a rumor that an endangered tree frog was preventing future construction near my home. I was intrigued. I wanted to thank this frog. Maybe show my kids what it looks like.
I asked around. The rumor got fuzzy and then outrageous and then…Debunked. The rumor was false, ya’ll. No tree frog. No halt to development. I guess people had been reading The Lorax and got carried away. But I did track down the source, like the intrepid journalist I am.
No one could find any toad. There was talk of taking samples of wetland water and analyzing it for spadefoot toad DNA. Naturalists were desperate to find a concrete way to protect the local vernal pools. They were grasping at straws spadefoot DNA.
Aside: Vernal Pools are seasonal wetlands created by spring rains. Amphibians come out of hibernation from the surrounding duff and migrate to the pools to breed. After breeding, they disperse. The pools dry up. Next year, spring rains cue the cycle again.
Registered wetlands are federally protected. But, this protection, when followed to the letter of the law, only extends to the edges of the actual pool-- not the surrounding area. Common sense tells us that an ecosystem is not one part- it is a complex system. This is especially true of vernal pools.
The dynamic nature of seasonal change keeps the shape of the pools and the surrounding habitat in flux.
A park in the traditional sense would ruin the wetlands. Sure, they can’t build a playground on a vernal pool. But they can on the rise surrounding the vernal pool. This would displace and destroy many of the species that the wetland supports, and that support the wetland. It’s a system. Disable one part and the system collapses. Dude, not cool.
I am not alone in this vision. Local environmental non profits are working hard to educate the community about their choices. A consulting firm has been hired by the town to make sure the park will meet the neighborhood and townships’ needs. This is all good.
Now it’s my turn to help raise awareness of what this land is.
What endangered species live near you? Do they need your help?
The challenge is yours,