Endangered Species Protection Sought for California, Oregon Salamander Threatened by Logging
ASHLAND, Ore.— Conservation groups filed a federal petition for Endangered Species Act protection today for the Siskiyou Mountains salamander, a rare terrestrial salamander that lives in old-growth forests in the Klamath-Siskiyou region of southern Oregon and Northern California. The salamander is threatened by federal land-agency plans to ramp up logging in southern Oregon.
“This highly specialized animal can’t adapt to logging, so it will be pushed to the brink of extinction without Endangered Species Act protection,” said Jeff Miller with the Center for Biological Diversity. “The salamander is a unique indicator species of forest health in the Siskiyou Mountains. It deserves immediate protection in the face of accelerated logging.”
“By eliminating the ‘survey and manage’ program that required timber planners to look for salamanders before logging their habitat, the Bureau of Land Management has put this rare species in further peril,” said George Sexton with KS Wild. “Increased logging of mature forests in the Applegate Valley could jeopardize the very survival of the salamander.”
The Siskiyou Mountains salamander (Plethodon stormi) is a long-bodied, short-limbed terrestrial salamander, brown in color with a sprinkling of white flecks. The species only lives in the Klamath-Siskiyou region of southern Oregon and Northern California; it has the second-smallest range of any western Plethodontid salamander. Its best habitat is stabilized rock talus in old-growth forest, especially areas covered with thick moss. Mature forest canopy helps maintain a cool and stable moist microclimate.
“We have to ensure this unique salamander doesn’t blink out of existence,” said Josh Laughlin with Cascadia Wildlands. “In addition to playing an important ecological role by contributing to nutrient flow and soil health, the Siskiyou Mountains salamander is a distinct part of this region’s natural heritage.”
Today’s petition was filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, Klamath Siskiyou Wildlands Center, Environmental Protection Information Center and Cascadia Wildlands.
Take a look at some of our other work to protect KS Wildlife here.