Cope's giant salamanders inhabit cold, clear, fast-flowing permanent streams in coniferous forests. They are typically associated with coarse substrates (e.g., basalt). This species uses deep cobble, small boulders, in-channel logs, and other microhabitat features for foraging, refugia, and egg-laying.
This species has a limited range in Oregon. Cope's giant salamanders rarely or never metamorphose, so they are highly vulnerable to channel dewatering and barriers to stream connectivity. Given their small gill surface area, they are also sensitive to increases in temperature and sediment.
Assess distribution and habitat connectivity needs. Gather basic information on life history and population ecology, including reproduction (parental care, number of clutches per female per year). Determine the frequency of naturally-occurring terrestrial (metamorphosed) individuals. Evaluate the effects of herbicides, fertilizers, other chemicals, non-native fish, and disease on this species.
Retain stream buffers to maintain cool water temperatures and water clarity. Minimize sediment coating or embedding of rocky substrates. Replace culverts as needed to remove barriers in continuous, natural streambed and streambank habitat. Restrict chemical applications near streams. Reduce the likelihood of non-native predators in streams.