Report on first public meeting about managing the upper Yahara River at Cherokee Marsh

Several Friends of Cherokee Marsh directors attended the first of two public meetings seeking comments about how to manage the upper Yahara River at Cherokee Marsh.

Dane County’s Land & Water Resources Department is inviting the public to share ideas on how to enhance water quality, the fishery, wildlife populations, and recreation on the river. County staff called the meetings in response to a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) planning grant awarded to the county. The area under consideration extends from just downstream of State Highway 113 to about three miles upstream, where the river narrows.

Representatives from the county, the City of Madison, and the DNR were on hand to share information and answer questions. Participants were encouraged to submit comments with ideas and recommendations. Do we want to encourage canoeing and kayaking? How important is the fishery? Do we value the river as habitat for birds and other wildlife?

John Reimer from Land & Water Resources and Professor Chin Wu from the University of Wisconsin’s Civil & Environmental Engineering Department presented a concept for an area of the river west of Cherokee Lake, which lies along Burning Wood Way in the Cherokee Park neighborhood.

To improve water quality and reduce shoreline wetland loss, the concept envisions a series of constructed rock peninsulas along the river’s west shoreline. The peninsulas would capture sediments and channel the river’s flow. Two additional peninsulas would re-establish the spits of land that were left when Cherokee Lake was dug in the early 1960s but have since eroded away.

Before refining the plan and seeking funding, county staff want to know if there is public support for the concept. Information from the meetings will eventually be available online. When available, we’ll post links at

A second, identical, meeting will take place Thurs, November 14.If you have an interest in the future of the upper Yahara River, please consider attending this meeting.

Thursday, November 14
6:30 – 6:45 p.m. (Welcome and Project Background)
6:45 – 8:30 p.m. (Breakout Stations)
Westport Town Hall
5387 Mary Lake Road
Waunakee, WI

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