The Wetlands

Preservation and restoration

Some history and projects in and around the marsh.

Cherokee Marsh is a Wetland Gem

The Wisconsin Wetlands Association declared Cherokee Marsh a wetland gem.

The campaign to protect the marsh in the 1950s and 1960s

In 1968, Ruth Baumann of the Institute of Governmental Affairs at the UW-Extension published a detailed history of Cherokee Marsh in the 1950s and 1960s.

The purpose of the history, titled Cherokee Marsh: Win – Draw – Compromise?, was to show the challenges of making public policy in the face of competing interests. As an example, Ms. Baumann tells the story of the campaign to protect the marsh and its surrounding uplands.

Cherokee Marsh: Win – Draw – Compromise?

Posted with permission from UW-Extension, Cooperative Extension.

1970s Survey of Plants and Animals

For over a decade beginning in 1969, volunteers Maarit H. Threlfall, Lu Severson, and Don Samuelson documented the plants and animals in what is now the North Unit of Cherokee Marsh Conservation Park. These are the documents we have from the surveys. The text in the files is searchable.

Vascular Plants of Cherokee Marsh, 1981.

Plants of Cherokee Marsh, undated.

Plant and Animal Survey in Cherokee Marsh, 1973, a Preliminary Report.

Birds of Cherokee Marsh, 1973.


Hydric soils in Dane County. A hydric soil is a soil that formed under conditions of saturation, flooding, or ponding long enough during the growing season to develop anaerobic (without oxygen) conditions in the upper part.

Cherokee Lake

Map of Cherokee Lake, 1968. Shows the spits of land that defined the lake’s boundary after it was created by dredging wetlands. All of that land has eroded away except for the oak island (the circle marked “PW”).

Cherokee Lake in 1962 (aerial photo). Shows dredging in progress.

Cherokee Lake in 1968 (aerial photo).

The Wetlands of Dane County, Wisconsin

In 1974, the Dane County Regional Plan Commission in cooperation with the Wisconsin DNR researched and published a book titled The Wetlands of Dane County, Wisconsin. The book describes and evaluates the county’s wetlands.

Cherokee Marsh maps and descriptions from the book:

Map A (north)
Map A Key
Map B (central)
Map B Key
Map C (south)
Map C Key

All of the above files in a zip file

Introduction and description of the wetland ecosystem (9 MB)

Dane County Water Resources. Map showing the watershed and marshes lost since 1905.

The book is available in local libraries.

Photo Book

Cherokee Marsh: the Magic and the Mystery by Mario Quintana. This book is also available in local libraries.