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Biological Monitoring

Vernal Pool Inventory 2002-2003

The City of San Diego 2002-2003 Vernal Pool Inventory was funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and was created to provide a current, accurate account of all vernal pools and rare vernal pool plants and animals in the City of San Diego. The project also includes a genetic survey and analyses of the federally-listed endangered San Diego Fairy Shrimp (Branchinecta sandiegonensis) (PDF). In addition, the City and the U.S. Geological Survey collaborated on a joint research effort to determine the use of vernal pools by juvenile amphibians. The City of San Diego 2002-2003 Vernal Pool Inventory will serve as an important planning tool for both public and private sector environmental professionals and will form the basis for improving conservation and management of this rare habitat.

In preparing the inventory, City staff utilized state-of-the-art GPS technology to map the boundaries of every vernal pool basin within the City of San Diego, excepting military lands. Comprehensive plant surveys were conducted for each vernal pool complex, and focused basin surveys and coverage estimates were performed for six endangered and rare vernal pool plant species. This information has been compiled into a GIS database for public use. Genetic analyses of San Diego fairy shrimp were performed to estimate current population size and breeding structure in order to improve understanding of species evolution and genetic diversity. These genetic analyses will be used to evaluate the status of this endangered species and to identify ecological requirements for its conservation.

The City of San Diego 2002-2003 Vernal Pool Inventory is the result of coordination with a diverse stakeholder group, including consulting agencies, environmental groups, real estate interests, and the academic community. To ensure the utility of this document to all interested parties, it is important to present data in a direct and concise manner. In addition to the methodology and summarized results, vernal pool resources at each site are discussed in detail. Document figures show individual basins and boundaries of vernal pool complexes over aerial photographs. The inventory combines updated data and functional design into a superior environmental resource document.

For more information, or to request a digital copy of this document, please contact Betsy Miller at (619) 236-6621 or bmiller@sandiego.gov.