Cascade torrent salamanders are found in cold, fast-flowing headwater streams, seeps, and waterfall splash zones in forested areas. They typically occur in reaches and off-channel habitat with gravel or cobble substrate and persistent, shallow water. Larvae are aquatic, and both larvae and adults use rocks and other microhabitat features for foraging and cover. Adults can also be found along stream banks and in upland areas during wet periods. This species requires continuous access to cold, silt-free water and moist adjacent forest.
This species has a small average clutch size (7-16 eggs) and lengthy hatching period (up to 10 months). Larvae take several years to reach sexual maturity. The minute gill surface area of larvae makes them particularly sensitive to increased temperature and sediment.
Increase basic knowledge of abundance, distribution, and trends through inventory and monitoring. Develop methods to improve monitoring of this difficult-to-detect species. Determine species-specific breeding habitat, given the relatively recent taxonomic split of torrent salamanders. Investigate dispersal and determine whether most movement is by larval or adult forms and how much movement occurs between terrestrial and aquatic habitat. Examine the effects of habitat conditions on reproduction and age at reproductive maturity. Understand how upland forest management and riparian buffer widths affect population parameters.
Protect headwater streams. Retain riparian buffers (see Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation recommendations). Minimize sediment coating or embedding of rocky substrates. Maintain adjacent terrestrial habitat for dispersal and to enhance habitat connectivity. Use results of dispersal studies to guide recommendations on culvert size or modification.