More about the Spadefoot Pool and the Splash Critter Pool

The Mather Field Vernal Pool Preserve will not be complete without two unique, high-quality vernal pools, which are irreplaceable and must be saved.

The Spadefoot Pool

The Spadefoot Pool is the only vernal pool at Mather Field that supports a breeding population of Western Spadefoot toads.  This is a California Species of Special Concern because its population is declining due to continued loss of habitat. Scientists have petitioned to list it as endangered. Spadefoots are very selective about where they breed. Scientists don’t understand why they survive in so few pools.  They live in this one.  It is on public land.  It must be preserved for this most adorable of toads to be enjoyed by future generations.

This pool would be easy to protect it, since it lies close to the proposed preserve boundary, just east of Eagles Nest Road (aka Zinfandel). Sacramento County proposes to fill it and cover it with turf.  The toads have no legal protection but the public can influence what happens on public land.  Help Splash save the Spadefoot Pool by speaking up for Spadefoots when you write your County Supervisor.

The Splash Critter Pool

The Splash Critter Pool is the source for all of the aquatic critters that students observe at the Splash Center during their vernal pool field trips.  Annually, more than 2,500 school children get to see live critters under microscopes because the Splash Critter Pool is a unique, reliable resource for all the vernal pool species studied by Splash students. 

No other pool supports all these species throughout the entire Splash field trip season.  Even during the prolonged drought of 2014-15 the Splash Critter Pool held water (and critters) until mid-June!

The Splash Critter Pool is an irreplaceable natural and educational resource on public land.  Since 2004, the County has ignored clear, consistent requests to accommodate this pool in its plans. The current development plans show houses on top of the Splash Critter Pool and its watershed.

While this pool is located well away from the main preserve, the pool and its watershed could be contained within a smaller satellite preserve surrounded by compatible land uses such as natural open space, undeveloped parkland, school green-space or some combination of the three.