Vernal Pools – More Mesa

Fairy Shrimp:
The recent Updated Biological Resources Study of More Mesa (3)  Section 4.1 noted that, “Based on soils, flora and documented fairy shrimp occurrences in Santa Barbara and neighboring counties, the More Mesa Vernal Pool is likely to support “Listed Vernal Pool Branchiopods” (LVPB).  The research team was unable to confirm their conclusions, because during the 2008-2009 survey period the vernal pool was not inundated for a sufficient amount of time, nor was the air temperature cool enough at the time of inundation to meet the hatching requirements of LVPBs.  Because Fairy Shrimp have not been found recently in other vernal pools of the Santa Barbara area, it may be that they are no longer at More Mesa as well.

Pacific Chorus Frogs are abundant at this vernal pool.

Ducks, egrets and herons regularly use the filled pool and the marshy surrounding area.

“Spikerush is also a dominant associate in the vernal pool …” (3)

“The vernal pool in the southeast corner of the site is a prime example of a topographic depression that contains enough water during the growing season to support and maintain classic vernal pool habitat, including species such as Coyote Thistle, Coast Allocarya and Pacific foxtail. During the course of the spring 2008 floristic survey approximately 4-8 inches of water was observed in this feature. It did not contain ponded water during the winter of 2008 or spring of 2009.” (3)

MMPC hopes to establish a regular monitoring program for the More Mesa Vernal pool beginning this year.  This site will carry results of any analysis done on the organisms in the pool.

Reference 1: David A. Pritchett and Wayne R. Ferren Jr. 1988.  Vernal Pools of the Del Sol Preserve. Prepared for the Isla Vista Recreation and Park District, Santa Barbara, Ca. 1988.

Reference 2:  Ferren, W. R. Jr and D. M. Hubbard 1996. Review of Ten Years of Vernal Pool Restoration and Creation in Santa Barbara, California. Proceedings from a Conference on Ecology, Conservation, and Management of Vernal Pool Ecosystems by the California Native Plant Society.

Reference 3: Rincon Consultants, Inc. More Mesa Biological Resource Study. Prepared for County of Santa Barbara Planning and Development. Draft finalization, December 2010.