Wisconsin Ephemeral Ponds Project

The purpose of this volunteer-based project is to train citizens to identify, inventory, and monitor the ecology of ephemeral ponds. Ephemeral ponds are ponds that are present only a portion of the year, drying up later in the summer but available as habitat for a variety of amphibians, macroinvertebrates, and wildlife during spring and early summer. The objective of the project is to collect data that will lead to a better understanding of the location and ecology of Wisconsin’s ephemeral pond habitats.

In 2006, as part of the Wisconsin Ephemeral Ponds Project (WEPP), the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission began intensive mapping to update the digital Wisconsin Wetland Inventory in southeast Wisconsin. Improved mapping methods, applied to recent high-resolution digital imagery, allow the new maps to identify previously unmapped wetlands including ephemeral ponds. WEPP began monitoring selected ephemeral ponds to characterize the variety of types, their ecological significance, and to develop guidelines for protection and restoration. This project builds on initial mapping efforts, involving citizens in the inventory and monitoring process. This project began in 2008 in Southeastern Wisconsin’s coastal counties.