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Fourteen species of amphibians are considered to be species of concern in the HCP, largely due to global declines of amphibian populations and their vulnerability in the region to threats such as disturbance, invasive species, habitat loss, and climate change. Eleven of these species are known to be present and breeding in the watershed.

In the spring pond-breeding species such as northwestern salamanders and red-legged frogs move from the forest to breed in small ponds and wetlands throughout the watershed. Restoration of these ponds and wetlands by removing invasive plants, planting native species, and placing logs in and near the ponds benefit pond-breeding amphibians by providing cover and a cool, moist microclimate for them to travel through, as well as supporting the native insect population that they feed on.

northwestern salamander

Northwestern salamander found near old-growth forest in the Cedar River Watershed.

Tailed frogs and Pacific giant salamander breed in fast-flowing streams. Stream and adjacent riparian forest habitat are being restored for aquatic species like these by replacing large wood to provide habitat niches, stabilizing stream banks to decrease fine sediment input, and removing invasive plants and planting natives to restore the native leaf litter that supports the invertebrate species forming the base of the food chain.

Most adult amphibians spend a majority of their time in the forest. They often use large old-growth logs, traveling under or through decayed sections, where they are protected from predators and the hot dry conditions they cannot tolerate. Protecting existing old-growth forest, as well as restoring younger forest habitat to a more natural condition will benefit these species in the short term by providing logs on the forest floor and in the long term by providing a more diverse understory community that supports an array of prey species. Read more about amphibians on the Seattle Public Utilities Cedar River Biodiversity website.