Portland State University. Department of Environmental Science and Management
Date of Award
Master of Science (M.S.) in Environmental Science and Management
Environmental Science and Management
1 online resource (x, 108 pages)
Amphibians -- Effect of habitat modification on -- Oregon -- Wilson River Region, Herpetology -- Research -- Oregon -- Wilson River Region, Watershed ecology -- Oregon -- Wilson River Region, Culverts -- Environmental aspects -- Oregon -- Tillamook State Forest, Forest roads -- Environmental aspects -- Oregon -- Tillamook State Forest
As replacement and removal of undersized culverts gains momentum as an effective technique for restoring natural stream flows and removing fish passage barriers, it is important to evaluate the benefits of these efforts on the in-stream and adjacent riparian habitat for other species of potential concern. This study compares stream-associated amphibian (SAA) occurrence in streams adjacent to different road crossing structures on unpaved forest roads in the Wilson River watershed located within the Tillamook State Forest, Oregon. Surveys were conducted at road crossing structures for three taxa of SAA; Pacific giant salamander (Dicamptodon tenebrosus), coastal tailed frog (Ascaphus truei), and Columbia torrent salamander (Rhyacotriton kezeri). Statistical models were created to analyze the effect of habitat variables on SAA occupancy, and determine whether those variables changed relative to road crossing structures. Results showed that coastal tailed frog occupancy was positively associated with dissolved oxygen and crayfish presence, negatively associated with longitude, and had a slight quadratic relationship to channel confinement. Because all sites were highly saturated with oxygen, percent dissolved oxygen was likely a surrogate for one or more other covariates, such as in-stream habitat or substrate size. Detection rates of Pacific giant salamander were too high and detection rates of Columbia torrent salamander were too low to provide reliable models, but they did provide some insight into the factors affecting occupancy in the study area, including information about their interactions with road crossing structures. Occupancy rates of Pacific giant salamanders in the study area appear to be unaffected by road crossings, fish passable or otherwise. Conversely, torrent salamanders seemed to be mostly absent from the study sites altogether, but based on the one stream where they were detected, they are not excluded from occupying fish barrier culvert sites. Top weighted habitat covariates, including dissolved oxygen, channel confinement, crayfish and fish presence, and flow constriction are all indicators of disturbance that can be linked to road crossings. Although the size and structure of road crossings did not prove to significantly influence SAA occupancy, indicators of stream disturbance that can be related to road crossings were included in the best models for predicting occupancy, demonstrating the importance of reducing disturbance related to road crossings on streams.
Twitchell, Sara Erin, "Evaluating the Effects of Road Crossing Structures on Stream-Associated Amphibians in the Wilson River Watershed, Tillamook State Forest, Oregon" (2013). Dissertations and Theses. Paper 678.