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Verso Partners in Project to Identify, Map Vernal Pools in Michigan

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Verso Paper Corp. Memphis, Tenn., has announced a new, unique vernal pools project involving collaboration with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), the Michigan Forest Products Council (MFPC), and the Michigan Natural Features Inventory (MNFI), a program of Michigan State University Extension (MSUE). The project involves a targeted effort to identify and map vernal pools on state forest lands in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, a region where Verso procures wood for its paper and pulp production.

Vernal pools are small, temporary bodies of water that form in shallow depressions primarily in forested areas throughout Michigan and many other states. Because vernal pools are small, isolated, and dry for part of the year, they can be difficult to identify in the field, and easily overlooked and unintentionally damaged or destroyed. Vernal pools are important because they provide food, water, and/or habitat for a number of animal and plant species, including several endangered, threatened, or rare species in Michigan.

"Because fish do not exist in these pools, the lack of fish predation is why they are so important to many species of invertebrates that reproduce in the pools," said Verso Fiber Supply Manager James Contino. "Verso seeks to promote responsibly managed forests and will encourage partners and suppliers to protect vernal pools as part of sustainable forest planning and harvesting efforts."

The project, which began in December 2013 and will be completed by the end of 2014, will provide information that will help develop an effective and efficient approach for identifying and mapping vernal pools, including investigating the use of modeling and radar. The project will enhance the understanding of vernal pools’ distribution and ecology in Michigan and how to effectively identify, manage, and conserve them.

 

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