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Indybay Feature
Thu Jan 25 2007 (Updated 01/26/07)
The Struggle for the Siskyou Mountains Salamander
Thu Jan 25 2007 (Updated 01/26/07)
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 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."

Read More | Action Network: Help Protect the Siskiyou Mountains and Scott Bar Salamanders | EPIC: Habitat of Newly Discovered Salamander Species Slated for Logging | KS Wild Protects the Klamath-Siskiyou Ecoregion
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