March, 2016: Mapping, Monitoring and Protecting Vernal Pools in Michigan

Vernal pools are small, isolated, temporary wetlands that are important for maintaining healthy forest ecosystems. Because these wetlands dry up and are fishless, they provide critical breeding habitats for amphibians and invertebrates, including species that rely on vernal pools for their survival. Vernal pools also provide habitat for a number of other plants and animals, including rare and declining species. They also provide important ecosystem services including nutrient cycling, water storage and infiltration, groundwater recharge, and flood control. Due to their small size and temporary nature, vernal pools can be difficult to identify on the landscape, receive little protection under current wetland regulations, and are vulnerable to climate change, development, and other land uses. Conservation of vernal pools requires increased awareness, knowledge, and protection of these unique and important wetlands. This webinar will provide information on what vernal pools are, why they are important for maintaining healthy forest ecosystems, and how to identify, manage, and protect them, including recent efforts to develop an effective and efficient method for detecting and mapping vernal pools using aerial photo interpretation, radar, and GIS modelling. A statewide, citizen science-based effort to map and monitor vernal pools and how you can get involved also will be discussed.

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Yu Man Lee - Yu Man Lee is a Conservation Scientist with the Michigan Natural Features Inventory (MNFI), a program of Michigan State University Extension. Her primary areas of responsibility since joining MNFI in 1997 include conducting surveys, research, and monitoring for rare amphibians and reptiles across the state; helping to maintain Michigan's Natural Heritage Database; and providing technical information and expertise to inform biodiversity conservation and management in Michigan. Her recent projects have included working with a number of partners and citizen scientists to map, monitor, and assess vernal pools on public and private lands; conducting inventories for rare amphibian and reptile species on state game areas; modelling and delineating eastern massasauga populations to inform the development of a conservation plan for the species in Michigan; and assessing climate change vulnerability of rare species and potential for new invasive species to become climate matched in Michigan. Yu Man received a B.S. in Natural Resources from the University of Michigan's School of Natural Resources, and a M.S. in Wildlife Science from Oregon State University.

Lisa Brush - Lisa is the Executive Director of The Stewardship Network. Lisa has been leading collaborative conservation initiatives in the nonprofit environmental sector for over two decades. In her role as co-founder and Executive Director of The Stewardship Network she has engaged thousands of professionals and volunteers in identifying community and conservation needs of the 21st century and determining strategic support The Network can provide. She has managed and overseen grant projects from federal and state agencies, as well as family and private foundations. She has been involved in all aspects of organizational management including foundation/agency relationships, grant based project funding, budget tracking, contract negotiation, implementation, accountability, project reporting and staff and board development. Lisa has facilitated strategic planning sessions, focus groups, citizen task forces, community visioning sessions, and public involvement and feedback meetings with groups ranging in size from four to four hundred. Lisa emphasizes tried and true in-person methods of bringing people together augmented by the use of cutting edge online technology. Lisa serves on numerous boards of directors, has a BA in Science in Society from Wesleyan University, an MS from University of Michigan's School of Natural Resources and Environment, and is a graduate of Michigan State University's Great Lakes Leadership Academy.

Webcast Date: 
Wednesday, March 9, 2016 - 12:00pm
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