The PA Parks and Forests Foundation announced Monday it was awarded a grant from New Belgium Brewing Company, Fort Collins, Colorado, for restoration and education of vernal pool ecosystems, specifically of the Fuzzy Trail, Michaux State Forest.
Poorly planned and illegal ATV trails in the Michaux State Forest negatively impact rare vernal pool communities in this heavily used forest in Pennsylvania.
Vernal pools are temporary pools of water that provide habitat for distinctive plants and animals. They are considered to be a distinctive type of wetland usually devoid of fish, and thus allow the safe development of natal amphibian and insect species unable to withstand competition or predation by fish.
This grant will benefit the Michaux through restoration and protection of vernal pools and education about vernal pool ecology to forest visitors.
“We look forward to working with the Michaux State Forest to restore this important ecosystem,” said Marci Mowery, President of the PA Parks and Forests Foundation. “We applaud New Belgium Brewing Company for their commitment to water conservation and restoration as part of their focus on sustainability.”
“Finding the optimal balance between forest recreational uses and protection of unique components of the forest ecosystem like vernal pools is a constant challenge for public land managers. This grant funds ecological restoration work that will enhance water quality and restore the biodiversity of these unique forested wetland habitats,” said Roy Brubaker, District Forester at the Michaux State Forest. “We are deeply grateful to the New Belgium Brewing Company for their commitment to making this type of public investment.”
Vernal pools are disappearing across the nation due to their ephemeral nature and the lack of understanding of the important role they play in the wetland ecosystem.
Like all wetlands, vernal pools also play a role in water quality, allow water to seep into the ground, which recharges groundwater aquifers, removes impurities, and reduces runoff into surface water sources.For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the PA Parks & Forests Foundation website. Click Here to sign up for regular updates from the Foundation, Like them on Facebook or Follow them on Twitter.