SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – Springfield’s hidden gem, Muckross State Park, is full of surprises. The state of Vermont works diligently on improvements to make the 200-plus-acre property and multiple trails more accessible for public use. A stream runs through the property, with a small dam forming a pond just before the stream tumbles down the hillside toward the Black River. Since 2016, the Black River Action Team continues to collect data on the long, narrow pond nestled between evergreen-lined banks.
BRAT volunteers visit the pond weekly from May through September, collecting data, recording observations, and taking samples for the state of Vermont’s Lakes Lay Monitoring Program. A fascinating array of organisms have been noted in and around the pond, including freshwater sponge in the stream below the dam, herons and mergansers, mink and beavers, dozens of dragonflies, and even recurring colonies of bryozoan, an animal similar to a freshwater coral that forms on submerged branches.
Gathering temperature data, clarity observations, and other information helps us keep records of baseline conditions in the pond so any big changes will stand out and long-term trends can be tracked.
To learn more about BRAT and ways you can support the all-volunteer monitoring efforts, go to www.blackrivercleanup.wixsite.com/blackriveractionteam. Discover maps and history of the Muckross State Park at www.vtstateparks.com/muckross.html as well as how you can be involved at www.friendsofmuckross.org.