What is a vernal pool?

Vernal pools are water-holding depressions free of fish that usually appear in the spring after snowmelt, however, some fill with water in the fall during rain events and persist through the winter into the spring. While many vernal pools dry up during the summer, some are semi-permanent and do not dry every year. Vernal pools are important habitats for many species of wildlife, including salamanders, frogs, turtles, and toads, some of which are totally dependent on vernal pools for their survival. Because of their sensitive nature and important ecological functions, vernal pools come under special consideration in both state and local bylaw wetlands regulations.

Certified and non-certified vernal pools and their 100-foot buffer zone are regulated in Dracut and any work will need to come before the Conservation Commission for permitting before it can begin.

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1. What is a wetland?
2. What is a wetland buffer zone?
3. What is the difference between an intermittent stream and perennial stream?
4. What is a vernal pool?
5. Why are wetlands protected?
6. What activities in a wetland or buffer zone require a permit?
7. What are the different types of wetlands permitting forms and when are they used?
8. I live near a mushy area where there are some ferns growing, is this a wetland?
9. I live lakeside and I’m planning a retaining wall; do I need to file with the Conservation Commission?
10. I live on a lake and I would like to put up a dock; do I need a permit?
11. I live near a stream and I’d like to put a new deck on the back of my house. Do I need to file for a permit?
12. I live near a wetland and I’d like to cut down some trees near my house; do I need to file?
13. I see a depression filled with water on my property every spring; if I wanted to complete a project in or near this location, do I need to notify the Conservation Commission?
14. I’ve hired a contractor to do some excavation on my property and it’s near a marshy area; should I contact the Conservation Commission?
15. I suspect work is being done in a wetland or buffer zone without a permit, what should I do?
16. How do I contact the Conservation Commission?