Vernal pool

It’s a vernal pool!

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Some of my favorite classes at Texas A&M University forty years ago were labs, especially labs where we got to go outside, off campus, into the forests and grasslands that surround College Station, Texas. We studied species diversification, species density, species survival.

A couple of months ago I discovered vernal pools. Back in Texas, we called them “puddles of water,” and we didn’t study their species or anything like that. We played mud football in them!

San Diego County used to be covered with tens of thousands of vernal pools. That was back when the species density of humans was three hundred thousand. Now that it’s over three million, vernal pools have been destroyed in the interest of progress, progress like homes to live in, car dealerships to move us around, gas stations to provide gas for the cars that move us around, grocery stores, and, of course, the ubiquitous shopping mall.

I’ve been waiting for the rains to come so that I could visit a vernal pool and get some pictures, like the following panorama (I would say “Click on the image for a larger size” but that features seems to have been done away with recently by the WordPress folks):

Vernal pool panorama

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That is a protected vernal pool located at 9330 Hillery Drive in San Diego:

Vernal pool map

View Larger Map

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

It is the only vernal pool left in a large area of homes, apartment complexes, and shopping malls that once had tens of thousands of vernal pools in many square miles. And it is protected from children playing in it when it fills with water. There is a fence around it, walking paths, and even a little plaque telling the public that it isn’t just a piece of bare land that some builder forgot to develop. It’s a vernal pool!

Vernal pool interpretive site

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I went to see the vernal pool on the 13th, just after 1½ inches of rain had fallen in five hours. The pool had just started to shows signs of water ponding:

Vernal pool

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Of course, now that I know where it is and how easy it is to get to, I’ll be visiting it several times throughout our upcoming rainy season.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray PhotosThis post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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25 thoughts on “It’s a vernal pool!

  1. Chancy and Mumsy (Mag)

    Russell, I found this to be very interesting and the last shot I really like, it is pretty. Love that Zoey tummy. :) Hugs

    Reply

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