The Rocky Mountain tailed frog is vulnerable to management practices that alter the riparian or aquatic zones of streams, especially those practices that change the moisture regime, increase sediment load, reduce woody debris input and change stream bank integrity. Protection of headwater streams is particularly important.
Sensitivity to climate change
Though there is limited information available regarding the sensitivity of the Rocky mountain tailed frog to climate change, particularly for Washington populations, this species may exhibit some sensitivity to predicted increases in stream temperature with climate change. Rocky mountain tailed frogs breed in streams and tadpoles spend many summers in stream habitat. However, recent data on stream temperature comparisons suggests that temperatures tolerated are considerably higher than for the Coastal tailed frog. Increases in stream temperature during the summer could lead to declines in tadpoles and adults. Both adults and juveniles may be able to avoid summer increases by migrating to areas of the stream with cooler water, and some studies have shown an ability to withstand increases in stream temperature. Additionally, potential drier, warmer conditions and increases in wildfires could alter this species’ preferred forest habitat and lead to reductions in population size. Increases in winter and spring precipitation could also lead to increased flooding events, and disturb available habitat for juveniles.
Exposure to climate change
- Increased stream temperatures
- Changes in precipitation
- Altered fire regimes
- Altered hydrology (i.e., increased flooding and changes in timing of high water events)