Proposed Mountain Bogs National Wildlife Refuge
Conserving the Nature of America
Map of the Southeast Region Map of Kentucky Map of the Caribbean and Navassa Map of North Carolina Map of Tennessee Map of South Carolina Map of Arkansas Map of Louisiana Map of Mississippi Map of Alabama Map of Georgia Map of Florida

Benefits to wildife


Endangered species:
Southern Appalachian Mountain bogs are home to a number of plants and animals on the verge of extinction. Protecting these sites would help recover these plants and animals and contribute to their removal from the endangered species list. A number of factors come into play when managing bogs for endangered plants and animals – what kinds of plants and animals grow in the bog, how much and how quickly water is flowing into and out of the bog, how much shade is in the bog – all of which are key to whether or not an endangered plant or animal thrives. Having numerous bog sites as part of a single National Wildlife Refuge would allow for a comprehensive approach to bog conservation, while allowing for dedicated, site-specific management. Additionally, establishing conservation partnership areas would allow the Service to work with adjoining landowners interested in managing their property in a way that benefits the rare plants and animals on the refuge.

(A note about poaching - Due to their rareness and desirability in the pet and botanical trade, many endangered species found in bogs have been heavily poached. In order to protect the location of plants and animals under severe threat from poaching, we’ll discuss the locations of these species only with site owners.)

Some endangered plants and animals that would benefit from Mountain Bogs National Wildlife Refuge:


Photo: Bog turtle. Credit: Gary Peeples/USFWS

Bog turtle. Photo: Gary Peeples, USFWS

Bog turtle, threatened - North America's smallest turtle faces serious threats not only from habitat loss and destruction but also poaching. Poaching to fuel an illegal pet trade has dramatically decreased populations of this turtle in the Southern Appalachians, including the decimation of North Carolina’s strongest population. Incorporating bog turtle habitat into a National Wildlife Refuge would not only protect its habitat, but also enable the Fish & Wildlife Service to expand anti-poaching efforts. Learn more.


Photo: Carolina northern flying squirrel. Credit: USFWS

Carolina northern flying squirrel. Photo: USFWS

Carolina northern flying squirrel, endangered – Unlike its cousin, the much more common Southern flying squirrel, the Carolina northern flying squirrel is generally known from high elevation areas, above 3500 feet. Much Carolina northern flying squirrel habitat is found on public land such as National Forest or National Park. However, this proposal would protect one of the few remaining pieces of unprotected habitat. Learn more.





Photo: Virginia big-eared bat. Credit: USFWS

Virginia big-eared bat. Photo: USFWS

Virginia big-eared bat, endangered - This medium-sized bat (less than half an ounce) is, as the name implies, characterized by large ears (more than 1 inch long) that are connected across its forehead. Big-eared bats principally feed on moths but eat other insects as well. The proposed refuge would protect one known Virginia big-eared bat site. Learn more.







Photo: bunched arrowhead. Credit: USFWS

Bunched arrowhead. Photo: USFWS

Bunched arrowhead, endangered - Bunched arrowhead is known from only two counties in the entire world, with eleven remaining populations across those two counties. This project would make important strides in permanently protecting two of those remaining populations. Learn more.








Photo: Green pitcher plant. Credit: Gary Peeples

Green pitcher plant. Photo: USFWS

Green pitcher plant. Endangered - Green pitcher plant is a carnivorous perennial herb with yellowish-green, hollow, pitcher-shaped leaves. The hollow leaves contain liquid and enzymes. When insects fall into the pitchers, they’re digested and the nutrients in the bodies are incorporated into the plant’s tissues. At one time, green pitcher plants were found in North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama and in landscapes as diverse as the Coastal Plain and the Ridge and Valley. It has disappeared from Tennessee, and is only found at a single site in North Carolina. This project would help protect the lone North Carolina site. Learn more.






Photo: Heller's blazing star. Credit: USFWS

Heller's blazing star. Photo: USFWS

Heller's blazing star, threatened - This rare plant grows in the shallow soils of high-elevation cliffs and rocky outcrops in the Southern Appalachians where is sufferes from seemingly minor threats such as trampling from hikers, as well as more pervasive threats such as poor air quality. Learn more.





Photo: Mountain sweet pitcher plant. Credit: USFWS

Mountain sweet pitcher plant. Photo: USFWS

Mountain sweet pitcher plant, endangered - Mountain sweet pitcher plant is a carnivorous perennial herb with tall, hollow pitcher-shaped leaves and red sweet-smelling flowers. The entire known distribution of this plant is in three Southern Appalachian counties. Creation of the refuge would help protect five North Carolina populations. Learn more.










Photo: Roan Mountain bluet. Credit: USFWS

Roan Mountain bluet. Photo: USFWS

Roan Mountain bluet, endangered - Roan Mountain bluet, found on exposed mountain-tops, is easily distinguished from other bluets by its relatively large reddish purple flowers, small oval leaves, and compact growth form. Creation of the refuge would help protect one known site. Learn more.






Photo: Small-whorled pogonia. Credit: USFWSSmall-whorled pogonia. Photo: USFWS

Small-whorled pogonia, threatened - Small-whorled pogonia is a native orchid whose primary threat is habitat destruction. Learn more.













Photo: Spreading avens. Credit: USFWSSpreading avens. Photo: USFWS

Spreading avens, endangered - Known only from the high mountain peaks of east Tennessee and western North Carolina, spreading avens suffers from a variety of threats, including simple trampling by hikers; poor air quality; and drier, hotter conditions resulting from the deaths of Fraser firs in forests adjacent to the plant's habitat. Learn more.






Photo: Swamp. Credit: USFWS

Swamp Pink. Photo: USFWS

    • Swamp pink, threatened - Swamp pink is a perennial herb in the lily family with flower stalks up to 4.5 feet tall. Though its range stretches from Georgia to New Jersey, its actual habitat within that range is rare. North Carolina is home to 10 populations and this proposal would help protect habitat for six of those. Learn more.










    Photo: Rock gnome lichen. Credit: USFWS

    Carolina northern flying squirrel. Photo: USFWS

    Rock gnome lichen, endangered - One of only two lichens on the federal endangered species list, the rock gnome lichen is generally known from high-elevation areas in the Southern Appalachians. This project would protect one currently unprotected population. Learn more.






    Other important groups of plants and animals that would benefit from Mountain Bogs National Wildlife Refuge:

    Photo: Prairie warbler. Credit: Steve Maslowski

    Prairie warbler. Photo: Steve Maslowski, USFWS

    Southern Appalachian bogs are important to many migratory songbirds, providing breeding and wintering habitat and serving as a stopover on their migratory journeys between the tropics and points further north. Several species that use bogs are also birds of conservation importance – they aren’t currently endangered, but their declining numbers have biologists concerned. These include: golden-winged warbler, field sparrow, and prairie warbler.





    Photo: Woodcock. Credit: Richard Baetsen

    Woodcock. Photo: Richard Baetsen, USFWS

    Game animals:
    Bogs provide food and shelter for many important game species, including furbearers such as mink, muskrat, raccoon, and beaver, and game birds such as rails, woodcock, ruffed grouse, turkey, and wood duck.  In the winter, when plants in drier areas have withered, bogs are a source of fresh green food for turkey and grouse. 






    Red salamander. Photo: Gary Peeples/USFWS

    The Southern Appalachians are home to more kinds of salamanders than anywhere else in the world. The abundance of water helps make Southern Appalachian bogs key habitat for many species, including:  seepage salamander, four-toed salamander, mole salamander, marbled salamander, spotted salamander, three-lined salamander.





    Photo: Monarch butterfly. Credit: Mark Musselman

    Monarch butterfly. Photo: Mark Musselman, USFWS


    The role of pollinators, which perform a key role in the life-cycle of many plants, is becoming increasing understood and valued, at the same time their numbers are declining. Several species of butterflies use bogs, including monarchs, tiger swallowtails, and cloudless sulfurs. Other pollinators that use bogs include hummingbirds, bees, moths, and beetles.




Contact us

Mountain Bogs National Wildife Refuge
160 Zillicoa St.
Asheville, NC 28801


Photo: Biologist Sue Cameron searches for birds. Credit: Gary Peeples

Service biologist Sue Cameron conducts a bird survey. Credit: USFWS/Gary Peeples


Last updated: November 25, 2013