Salamanders are important members of faunal communities in Appalachian Mountain (USA) streams, and the use of salamanders as bioindicators is increasing. Roads are a part of the modern landscape, but effects of roads on stream and streamside salamander diversity and abundance is not clear. We sampled streams in central West Virginia, USA, using quadrats placed along transects in the flowing channel, dry channel, and stream bank to assess salamander diversity, richness, and abundance during 2004. We used Akaike's Information Criterion for model selection at reach (i.e., above and below culverts) and stream scales. Salamander diversity and richness was affected by elevation, stream gradient, canopy cover, and the presence of roads. Overall, stream and riparian habitat quality was the most important factor affecting salamander richness. The presence of roads, stream gradient, and elevation received the most empirical support for predicting species' abundances. Roads benefited disturbance-tolerant species but negatively affected other species. Impacts of roads and culverts on habitat should be considered by federal and state transportation agencies and natural resources agencies during the planning process and addressed through mitigation efforts. Managers should install culverts that are as wide as the stream channel, at grade with the streambed, and dominated by rubble substrate to provide maximum benefit for salamanders.
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Vol. 72 • No. 3