Vernal Pool Survery for MDOT

Project Name: Road Corridor Environmental Impacts

Summary: Comprehensive vernal pool survey for Maine DOT

Client: Maine Department of Transportation

Project Location: Penobscot and Aroostook

Counties, ME

Project Size: 12 miles in length; 2,000 acres in


Services Provided:
•  Vernal Pools Survey
    and Assessment
•  GIS Database Design
    and Management
•  Habitat Assessment/Impact
•  Rare, Threatened and
    Endangered Species Assessment

Project Timeframe:
2006 - 2008

Relationship with Client: Since 1980’s

Client Needs:
The Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) required a comprehensive vernal pool survey encompassing an area more than 12 miles in length and 2,000 acres in area within the proposed routes of alternative road alignments in Penobscot County, Maine to determine if they met the “significance” thresholds defined by the Significant Wildlife Habitat rules under the Natural Resource Protection Act (NRPA).
Kleinschmidt Solution:
Kleinschmidt’s vernal pool survey included identification of egg masses and adults for obligate vernal pool species. In order to determine “significance”, certain parameters were quantified to document whether threshold levels were reached. Each vernal pool was mapped using a sub-meter accuracy GPS unit. Data collected at each vernal pool included detailed egg mass counts, identification of adult and juvenile amphibians, presence or absence of fairy shrimp, identification of observed turtles, water quality data (pH and temperature) and a qualitative assessment of surrounding upland habitat. Upon completion of the surveys Kleinschmidt provided the MDOT with a report outlining field findings that included species data, detailed habitat descriptions and photos of each pool. Also included for each significant vernal pool was an assessment of the vernal pool envelope and upland environment, both of which are important for amphibian foraging and overwintering habitat and a GIS layers of each mapped significant vernal pool for planning purposes.
Client Benefits:
The entire project was completed ahead of schedule and under budget. This allowed the MDOT additional budget to identify other projects and alternatives for completion during the 2006 field season and flexibility in future planning for the project.