Not all wetlands are created equal; a pond is not a vernal pool.
To better understand the reason not all "ponds" are the same, one must look at the life cycle of a frog. Sure, why not? Who knows more about wet places than a frog?
A recent walk at Byers Woods, an Ashland County Park District property south of Ashland, made the difference abundantly clear.
This is a pond. It was silent.Fishermen gather here for a little catch-and-release sportsmanship. (You wouldn't really want to eat fish caught at a landfill's drainage pond, would you?) It is a great place to watch Tree Swallows and dragonflies in the summer time. But, it is quiet.
This is a vernal pool; the mid-morning frog chorus was at a deafening roar.
The very definition of vernal pool is a "springtime" pool. It is short lived, or ephemeral. In other words, it drys up in the summertime and has NO FISH population. Frogs don't like to lay their eggs where fish live. Fish eat tadpoles, the larval stage of a frog. Simple. Vernal pools are where frogs gather to lay eggs, and tadpoles grow quickly into baby frogs, before the pond drys.
Northern Spring Peeper is no bigger than the first joint of your thumb. This tiny denizen of the swamp shrieks a high pitched, "Peep-peep-peep." You'll know him in a heart beat. If you hear one calling, you'll probably hear many more.