The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says two salamanders in Oregon and Washington may qualify for Endangered Species Act protection. The findings on Tuesday about the Cascade torrent salamander and Columbia torrent salamander mean the agency will initiate full status reviews for the species to see if they warrant protection.
The findings come in response to a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity. The Center first asked for protection for the salamanders in 2012. The petition said they are increasingly rare because of habitat loss due primarily to logging and road building.
The four-inch brown salamanders live in forest streams and are found only in a small stretch of the Cascades and Coast range. Biologists say their health is an indicator of the overall health of streams.