Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
Prairie Plant’s Future is Looking Golden
Golden paintbrush proposed for removal from Endangered Species Act due to recovery

June 29, 2021


Andrew LaValle

Golden paintbrush flowers at sunset

Golden paintbrush, once rare, is being proposed for delisting from the Endangered Species Act. Credit: Photo courtesy of M. Neis/Pacific Rim Institute

LACEY, Wash. – Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to delist golden paintbrush from the Endangered Species Act (ESA) due to recovery. The showy bright yellow flowers of golden paintbrush, once rare, again color prairies in the Pacific Northwest with a wash of gold from April to June.

When listed as threatened in 1997 there were only 10 populations of golden paintbrush and fewer than 20,000 plants in the Pacific Northwest. Thanks to the efforts of diverse conservation partners, the species has rebounded to over a half-million plants at 48 locations from the Puget Trough of southwestern British Columbia and western Washington, into Oregon’s Willamette Valley. 

“The hard work and commitment of many people have made it possible to propose the delisting of the golden paintbrush today,” said Robyn Thorson, the Service’s Columbia-Pacific Northwest Regional Director. “Our partners have joined together to restore important habitat, maintain prairie landscapes and reintroduce these beautiful plants to sites across its historical range.”

Golden paintbrush was listed as threatened under the ESA due to habitat loss, fire suppression and prairie conversion for agricultural uses and urban development. However, a recent report showed a reduction in these threats, as well as increased resiliency in multiple populations throughout its range. Reintroductions and habitat restoration have helped this golden beauty bounce back, and ongoing prairie management by committed partners will maintain its recovery.

Other listed plant and wildlife species have also benefited from these prairie conservation efforts including Willamette daisy, Kincaid’s lupine, Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly, Fender’s blue butterfly and Mazama pocket gopher.

Partners helping conserve and recover the golden paintbrush include: Washington Department of Natural Resources Natural Heritage Program, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington State Parks, Institute of Applied Ecology, Pacific Rim Institute, Center for Natural Lands Management, San Juan County Land Bank, Thurston County, Benton County, Greenbelt Land Trust, Portland Metro, City of Eugene, Whidbey/Camano Land Trust, Wolf Haven International, The Nature Conservancy, Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, Army Corps of Engineers, National Park Service, and Parks Canada.

This announcement opens a 60-day period for the public to review and comment on the proposal to delist golden paintbrush and provide additional information. We are also accepting comments on the draft post-delisting monitoring plan. All relevant information received by August 30, 2021 will be considered.

Comments may be submitted by one of the following methods:

  • Internet: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: In the Search box, enter Docket No. FWS–R1–ES–2020– 0060. Then, click on the Search button. On the resulting page, in the Search panel on the left side of the screen, under the Document Type heading, check the Proposed Rule box to locate this document. You may submit a comment by clicking on “Comment Now!”
  • U.S. Mail: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R1–ES–2020–0060, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS: PRB/3W, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit

For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit Connect with our Facebook page, follow our tweets, watch our YouTube Channel and download photos from our Flickr page.