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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: North Coast | Environment & Forest Defense
The Struggle for the Siskyou Mountains Salamander
The California Fish and Game Commission is poised to take public testimony with regard to the threatened-species status of the Siskyou Mountains salamander under the California Endangered Species Act.
The California Fish and Game Commission is currently considering a petition from the Department of Fish and Game to delist the Siskiyou Mountains salamander as a threatened species under California's Endangered Species Act.
From Center for Biological Diversity
"What's At Stake:
The Siskiyou Mountains salamander (Plethodon stormi) is a rare denizen of old-growth forests that lives in a small portion of northern California and southern Oregon, where it is limited to rocky, covered slopes. Members of a group of salamanders called Plethodons, the Siskiyou Mountains salamander is lungless, breathing directly through its skin. The dense limbs and shade provided by old-growth forests help retain moisture that is key to the salamander's survival. Logging and other development that removes the shelter provided by these forests destroys the habitat that is vital for the salamanders to breathe and live.
In its delisting petition, the California Department of Fish and Game argued that the salamanders can be found in clearcuts, but failed to recognize that a few individuals dispersing through an area is different from a reproducing, viable population. Responding to the petition, noted salamander biologist Dr. Hartwell Welsh concluded:
"I have again reviewed the delisting proposal for the Siskiyou Mountains salamander, and find the interpretation of the science, both in general regarding the associations of plethodontid salamanders with mature forest habitats, and in particular with regard to this species, seriously flawed with regard to the available credible data on habitat associations. Given that the logic for delisting is based primarily on this flawed interpretation, the delisting petition itself is of questionable merit."
In 2005, a subpopulation of the Siskiyou Mountains salamander was described as a new species—the Scott Bar salamander. Instead of heralding the discovery of a new species, the California Department of Fish and Game took the position that with its discovery the Scott Bar salamander was no longer protected as a threatened species. It proceeded to allow several logging projects to move forward in the species' habitat. A lawsuit brought by the Center and other groups clarified that the Department of Fish and Game does not have the authority to remove protection for species; only the Fish and Game Commission can take such action. Unfortunately, this underhanded move is typical of the Department of Fish and Game's rush to remove protection for these imperiled salamanders.
Letters to the California Fish and Game Commission should support retaining protection for both the Siskiyou Mountains and Scott Bar salamanders and note that the Commission cannot remove protection for the Scott Bar salamander without the Department of Fish and Game amending their delisting petition and allowing the public the opportunity to comment. "
Dear Friends of EPIC,
Help Us Take Defend the Siskyou Mountains Salamander and the Scott Bar Salamanders!
Attend a public hearing and write letters (or either of the two)!
The California Fish and Game Commission is poised to take public testimony with regard to the threatened-species status of the Siskyou Mountains salamander under the California Endangered Species Act. The Scott Bar salamander is a recently discovered subspecies of the Siskyou Mountains salamander, and is accordingly protected unless the Commission decides otherwise.
With one of the smallest ranges of any western terrestrial salamander, the Siskiyou Mountains salamander is highly imperiled by logging of its old-growth habitats. It needs continued protection. Please write the Fish and Game Commission and ask them to retain protection for the salamander.
For more information on these cool critters, see:
If you can, please attend a public hearing on the issue in Monterey, California on Thursday, February 1, at 10:00am. It’s REALLY important to have our perspective visibly represented. For you folks who are near to Monterey, it would be great if you could help us make a strong showing of support. Find out more about the hearing at http://www.fgc.ca.gov/2007/020107agd.html.
The hearing location:
The Beach Resort Monterey
Bayview Conference Room
2600 Sand Dunes Drive
Thursday, February 1, at 10:00am
…and/or write to them at:
The California Fish & Game Commission
1416 Ninth Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
…or call them:
We have prepared a letter for you to use as a template.
Visit our website to cut and paste, and feel free to elaborate as you wish:
For the salamanders!