The Beauty of the Vanishing Vernal Pool

The North Bay is home to this great natural wonder.

13 photos
1/13
Joe Rosato Jr.
A ground level view of a field of Yellow Carpet flowers. The flowers grow at the edge of the vernal pool and take over as the water dries up.
2/13
Joe Rosato Jr.
Lake Olcott is located on the Jepson Prairie Preserve, about 13 miles east of the Solano County city of Fairfield. The preserve is run by the Solano Land Trust.
3/13
Joe Rosato Jr.
Lake Olcott is a temporary lake that only turns up in the winter and spring. It's called a vernal pool. The hard clay in the area prevents rain water from evaporating, creating a 96 acre lake. It is filled with life, including many endangered species.
4/13
Volunteer Mary Schiedt scoops through the waters of the lake, looking for life. Biologists are required to get a Federal permit before "dipping" into the lake's mud.
5/13
Joe Rosato Jr.
Volunteer Mary Schiedt holds up a container holding endangered tadpole shrimp.
6/13
Joe Rosato Jr.
A container holds several endangered tadpole shrimp which live in Lake Olcott.
7/13
Joe Rosato Jr.
Volunteer Mary Schiedt holds up a plastic container with a tadpole shrimp, scooped from Lake Olcott.
8/13
Joe Rosato Jr.
Visitors walk along the shoreline of Lake Olcott on the Jepson Prairie Preserve. In a couple months, most of this grassland will be dead and the lake dried up.
9/13
Joe Rosato Jr.
A military plane from nearby Travis Air Force Base flies over the Jepson Prairie Preserve.
10/13
Joe Rosato Jr.
A plaque annouces the Jepson Prairie Preserve's designation as a national natural landmark. Preservation efforts in the area date back to the early 1900s.
11/13
Joe Rosato Jr.
Yellow Carpet flowers form a ring in one of the drying vernal pools of Lake Olcott. Many rare flowers appear during the spring including Wooly Marbles and Blow Wives.
12/13
Joe Rosato Jr.
Volunteer Mary Schiedt and Ben Wallace of the Solano Land Trust sit in a bed of Yellow Carpet flowers, trying to identify other rare flower species.
13/13
Joe Rosato Jr.
A ground level view of a field of Yellow Carpet flowers. The flowers grow at the edge of the vernal pool and take over as the water dries up.
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