Mortenson Lake National Wildlife Refuge

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Mortenson Lake National Wildlife Refuge


(970) 723-8202


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Note: This refuge is closed to the public.

Mortenson Lake National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1993 to protect the last known breeding population of the Wyoming toad. The Refuge encompasses 1,776-acres and is located southwest of Laramie, Wyoming. There are four main lakes that are associated with many other "Laramie plains lakes", a series of high elevation lakes in a short grass-prairie ecosystem. The Refuge is not staffed and is a satellite of Arapaho NWR. The Wyoming toad was listed as a Federally endangered species in 1984 and thought to be extinct. In 1987, a small population of Wyoming toads was discovered at Mortenson Lake. A Wyoming Toad Recovery Team was established to protect the small population, and captive breeding was initiated.

Management activities center on the recovery of the Wyoming toad and maintaining a healthy habitat for the species. It has been documented that the Wyoming toad needs open areas along the lake shoreline, and grazing has been the habitat tool used to open up the lake edge. Grazing is also used to promote habitat health on the rest of the Refuge. Water management activities include grassland irrigation and water level maintenance of the small wetlands on the eastern portion of the Refuge. Success of the captive breeding efforts at Mortenson Lake has fluctuated over the years. Captive toad releases into Mortenson Lake have occurred since 1995.

Map of Mortenson Lake NWR

Latitude, Longitude: 41.203327, -105.847092



Not open to the public.

Phone Numbers


(970) 723-8202