Cherokee Marsh is the largest wetland in Dane County, Wisconsin. It spans over 3,000 acres in the Cherokee Lake watershed, which is a part of the Yahara River headwaters, north of Lake Mendota and extending into the Token Creek watershed to the northeast. Like many marshes, the Cherokee Marsh acts as a living sponge, filtering upland runoff, and utilizing excess fertilizer to grow marsh plants, and slowly releasing cleaner water to the lakes below.
Cherokee Marsh complex is characterized by steep side slopes and large flat expanses hosting marsh, fen, shrub carr, sedge meadow, and one of the largest low prairies in the region. The marsh not only serves as excellent wildlife habitat, but also provides services like water quality protection and flood attenuation to the City of Madison downstream. The City has intensive and ongoing marsh restoration efforts that are helping to bring back hundreds of lost acres. The marsh also provides recreational and educational opportunities to many Madison area residents and is used by thousands of students each year for environmental education.
Credits: Friends of Cherokee Marsh, Geographic Techniques LLC (map); Wisconsinwetlands.org.