Yarmouth Considering Wetland Bylaw Changes

YARMOUTH – The Yarmouth Conservation Commission is proposing changes to its Wetland Bylaw, which would include adding vernal pools and vernal pool habitat as a protected resource area.

Vernal pools, despite their small size and transient nature, act as a critical breeding ground for rare species such as spotted salamanders, wood frogs, and fairy shrimp, leading some experts to categorize them as keystone ecosystems and essential for preserving biodiversity.

Often described as depressions free of woody vegetation or containing water but no fish, seasonal mating is most active from late March to May and active sites can often be identified by the chorus of Spring Peepers, a common tree frog.

Protections for vernal pools and upland habitats are currently limited under the Wetlands Protection Act, which pertains to state law and protects public, private, and groundwater supplies, fisheries, wildlife habitat, storm damage protection, and the prevention of flooding and pollution.

Municipal wetland bylaws, by comparison, apply to towns and may include stricter language should the town determine a need for action.

Last updated in 1987, the changes will also seek to modernize the wording used in the document and clarify agriculture, aquaculture, and climate resilience as areas of priority and concern.

The changes have been under deliberation since 2021 and were deemed substantial enough to prompt a rewrite of the document rather than a line-by-line revision.

About Matthew Tomlinson

Matt Tomlinson is a Cape Cod native studying to be a documentarian. He has been with the CapeCod.com NewsCenter since 2021.

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