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Rare, Threatened and Endangered Species

White-headed WoodpeckerThe FWS isn't just concerned with species on the federal Endangered Species List. We also care about those that might get there some day and those that states consider rare, threatened, or endangered within their boundaries. The species described below are of concern to the federal government, the state of Washington, or both.



Conboy Lake NWR is located in a transitional zone between higher elevations surrounding Mt. Adams and drier foothills, resulting in a diverse botanical community that includes several rare species. Ten state-recognized plants have been found in the refuge. These plants and their habitat requirements (and where they are found on the refuge) are:

Long-bearded Sego Lily (Calochortus longebarbatus var. longebarbatus): Federal Species of Concern, State Sensitive. Common in wet meadows and prairies.

Oregon Coyote-thistle (Eryngium petiolatum): State Threatened. Only known in two wet meadow complexes.

Rosy Owl-clover (Orthocarpus bracteosus): State Endangered. Found throughout wet meadows and prairies and on adjacent lands.

Kellogg’s Rush (Juncus kelloggii): State Threatened. Found in seasonal wetlands. Conboy Lake is the only known occurrence in Washington, but there has been no verified presence since 1989.

Dwarf Rush (Juncus hemiendytus var. hemiendytus): State Threatened. Found in seasonal wetlands. Only found in one location in 2005. Conboy Lake NWR is the only known occurrence in Klickitat County.

Pulsifer’s monkey-flower (Mimulus pulsiferae): State Sensitive. Found in only one location in a seasonally moist area in the transition zone between an open meadow and a ponderosa pine forest area in the vicinity of a spring.

Suksdorf’s Milk-vetch (aka Ames’ Milk-vetch) (Astragalus pulsiferae var. suksdorfii): Federal Species of Concern, State Endangered. Found in ponderosa pine forest and on adjacent lands.

California Broomrape (Orobanche californica ssp. grayana): Possibly extirpated. Found in moist meadows in association with asters and erigeron species. Historical collection of this species is from the Falcon Valley (includes Conboy Lake), but there have been no recent sightings in Washington.

Suksdorf’s bladderwort (Utricularia ochroleuca): State Sensitive. Common in streams and wetlands.

Carnival Meconella (Meconella linearis): Not listed. Photographed on the refuge in 1989, but not verified since. No other known occurrences in Washington.




The Mardon skipper butterfly (state endangered) is found in only four locations, including a portion of Klickitat County that includes Conboy Lake. This species has been seen at two sites within the refuge. Threats to this species include losses of habitat associated with development, overgrazing and natural succession, as well as herbicides and introduced plants that result in the loss of host plants. Additional potential threats include competition from introduced insects and diseases of insects or host plants. On Conboy Lake NWR fescue and western blue violet that occur in upland meadow habitat have the potential to support Mardon skippers.




The Camas Prairie that intersects Conboy Lake NWR is one of only four locations in Washington where the Oregon spotted frog (federal candidate, state endangered) still occurs. This species is adapted to develop in warmer water than other Pacific Northwest species. Oregon spotted frogs currently occupy less than about 30% of their historical range. On the refuge, Oregon spotted frogs occur primarily in emergent marsh and wet prairie habitats, although some individuals may overwinter at springs on the refuge. Wet meadows provide core breeding habitat for Oregon spotted frogs. Stressors to Oregon spotted frog include changes in vegetation, cattle grazing and bull frog predation.

At this time Oregon spotted frogs are being considered for listing under the Endangered Species Act.




Eleven special status bird species occur on Conboy Lake NWR.

Western Grebe: State Candidate. Found in the spring (rare) and fall (rare).

Bald Eagle: State Sensitive, Federal Species of Concern. Found in the spring (unusual), summer (occasional), fall (unusual) and winter (unusual).

Golden Eagle: State Candidate. Found in the spring (rare), summer (rare), fall (rare) and winter (rare).

Peregrine Falcon: State Sensitive, Federal Species of Concern. Found in the spring (occasional), summer (occasional), fall (occasional) and winter (occasional).

Greater Sandhill Crane: State Endangered. Found in the spring (unusual), summer (unusual) and fall (unusual).

Lewis Woodpecker: State Candidate. Found in the spring (occasional), summer (occasional), fall (occasional) and winter (occasional).

Pileated Woodpecker: State Candidate. Found in the spring (occasional), summer (occasional), fall (occasional) and winter (occasional).

White-headed Woodpecker: State Candidate. Found in the spring (occasional), summer (occasional), fall (occasional) and winter (occasional). Known to nest locally.

Loggerhead Shrike: State Candidate. Found in the spring (occasional) and fall (occasional).

Purple Martin: State Candidate. Found in the fall (accidental, outside of normal species range).

Sage Thrasher: State Candidate. Found in the summer (accidental, outside of normal species range).

Bald eagles have nested on the refuge in the past, although the WDFW priority species and habitats (PHS records) show they were not successful during the 2000 to 2005 seasons.

Conboy Lake and the surrounding area is the only known remaining nesting location for greater Sandhill cranes in Washington. In recent years, there have typically been 20 to 25 breeding pairs on the refuge. Due to the limited range and small population, greater Sandhill cranes are a state listed endangered species. The white-headed woodpecker (state candidate for listing) nests and forages on the refuge and prefers open, mature stands of ponderosa pine. Northern spotted owl have been observed in the general vicinity of the refuge, but have not been observed there in recent years. The other special status birds are outside of their normal range, or are only seen occasionally.




The western gray squirrel, state-listed as threatened and a federal species of concern, is known to occur outside of the refuge and may use some ponderosa and lodgepole pine stands in the refuge.

The gray wolf, a state-listed as endangered and federally listed as threatened, is not likely to occur on the refuge; however, one reportedly was observed in the Glenwood Valley in 1992.

Page Photo Credits — White-headed Woodpecker - Dave Menke
Last Updated: Apr 08, 2013
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