The Cascade torrent salamander is sensitive to temperature variation and increased sedimentation that may be caused by disturbances such as logging and road construction. Some populations are isolated by surrounding areas of unsuitable habitat and are vulnerable to extirpation through stochastic events exacerbated by habitat loss. Temperature sensitivity and limited dispersal ability makes this species potentially sensitive to climate change.
Sensitivity to climate change
Cascade torrent salamanders are likely highly sensitive to climate change due to their deposition on unattached eggs in low flow habitats, their inability to tolerate desiccation and specialized habitat requirements. Declines in water availability and timing (e.g., due to reduced snowpack and earlier snow melt), as well as increased sedimentation (e.g., due to shifts from snow to rain), could decrease suitable headwater habitat for this species. Increases in the seasonal rainfall, especially that which results from extreme events from atmospheric rivers has the potential to blow out oviposition or rearing sites. This species may also be physiologically limited by high temperatures.
Exposure to climate change
- Increased temperatures (air and water)
- Changes in precipitation
- Reduced snowpack
- Shifts from snow to rain
- Earlier snowmelt
- Changes in stream discharge (altered hydrology) Again, if one is interested in order of importance, changes in precipitation and discharge (stream hydrology) should probably precede the balance here