Vernal Pool Restoration Success at Ticknor Woodlands

The Ticknor Woodlands Parcel was conserved at the end of  2017 in a  three-way collaboration between the Upper Valley Land Trust, the City of Lebanon, and the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, and with funding from the Lebanon Open Space Trust and the NH Aquatic Resource Mitigation Fund. The 110 acre parcel of land is nestled between Dulac Street and Slayton Hill Road, with frontage along the Mascoma River.

The vernal pool started as a wet, rutted area on an old woods road. UVLT staff noted that in the spring the ruts were full of Wood Frog eggs.

 The grant funding through the NH Department of Environmental Services Aquatic Resource Mitigation Fund. As part of the NH Department of Environmental Services Aquatic Resource Mitigation Fund grant UVLT and the City of Lebanon agreed to perform a vernal pool restoration at a section of the property that was formerly a rutted woods road through scrub-shrub wetland. The area showed signs of significant amphibian breeding populations before restoration.

Close up shot of wood frog egg masses in the ruts before the pool was restored.

In the fall of 2018 Landscape Architect and Wetland Scientist James Kennedy designed and restored the wetland by excavating the pool area and shaping it to create deeper pools and channels. Organic materials (soil, stumps, rocks) were placed in the pool to serve as egg-laying sites. Access to the site was graded and seeded as were the fringes of the pool. Barrier rocks and a water bar were placed in the trail near Dulac street.

In the fall of 2018 the wet area was excavated to an appropriate depth and partially filled with woody debris.

This spring, as we continue to monitor the property, we have seen that the pool is functioning well and holding a significant amount of water. While this spring has been coming on slowly and cool, and amphibians have only been on the move for a few weeks, we are already seeing a number of egg masses in the pool. To date we have observed 11 egg masses – 9 wood frog and 2 spotted salamander.

Wood frog egg masses photographed on April 22nd.

This property, which was once a part of Lebanon’s agricultural community, was at high risk for development before it was conserved. Now it serves as an undeveloped natural area that offers the city the benefits of flood resiliency and habitat protection in an area that has struggled with storm water runoff and flood damage. UVLT will be holding an educational event on the property on May 23rd at 6pm to take the short walk to the pool, check the egg masses/tadpoles, look for frogs and salamanders, and talk about the importance of vernal pools as habitat. Event details can be found here.

Wood frog egg mass on May 6th. The tadpoles are beginning to hatch and feed on the algae growing on the outside of the egg casings.