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The City of Portland, Oregon

Environmental Services

working for clean rivers

Phone: 503-823-7740

Fax: 503-823-6995

1120 SW 5th Ave, Suite 613, Portland, OR 97204

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How clean is this stream? Let's ask the amphibians.

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The Pacific Northwest is home to several species of amphibians, including the Pacific tree frog, the long-toed salamander, the northern red-legged frog, and the northwestern salamander. Due to ongoing urbanization and habitat fragmentation, however, our native amphibians are in decline. Their soft, permeable skin make them especially susceptible to absorbing toxic substances, which has had a detrimental effect on their populations. When healthy populations of these amphibians are found in wetlands and streams, it typically indicates the stream is in good health and can provide habitat for other species, including endangered fish.

These red-legged frog egg masses were spotted in an East Portland wetland.

Today, Environmental Services is working to help increase amphibian populations in Portland by protecting and restoring wetland and stream habitat. Each year in late winter and early spring, we head out to the field and look for amphibian egg masses and larvae, so that we can monitor the effectiveness of our restoration work. The good news is that we’ve been consistently finding amphibians in most of our restoration projects, even those that were not designed specifically with amphibians in mind.

 A mature red-legged frog.

If you'd like to learn more about how monitoring fish and wildlife populations inform watershed health assessments, check out the Portland Watershed Report Cards. 

Want to know what you can do to help? Our Clean River Tips will give you pointers on how you can make an impact and keep our rivers and streams clean.  

1 Comment


Kristan Burkert

April 12, 2017 at 8:32 AM

This really makes clear why we check on frogs as part of our water quality monitoring. Great pictures, too!

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Spam Prevention In the Pacific Northwest, what state is Portland in?