Newsroom Midwest Region

Service improves hunting and fishing opportunities in Wisconsin

December 27, 2017

Ring-necked pheasants and mallards are new species that can be hunted on the restored Cherokee Marsh Wildlife Area in Dane County, Wisconsin. Photos by USFWS.
Ring-necked pheasants and mallards are new species that can be hunted on the restored Cherokee Marsh Wildlife Area in Dane County, Wisconsin. Photos by USFWS.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is collaborating with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Dane County Parks and other partners to expand hunting and fishing opportunities in Wisconsin. In 2015, Dane County Parks purchased 81 acres of land, known as the Cherokee Marsh Wildlife Area, to improve water quality, minimize flooding, create pollinator habitat, and increase recreational opportunities including hunting and fishing through wildlife habitat enhancements. As they identified restoration priorities and needs, county staff looked to the Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program for assistance.

Since the inception of the Partners Program in 1987, thousands of projects over the years, like this one, have demonstrated the Service’s commitment to America’s hunting and fishing heritage. By working with landowners we are able to improve habitat for waterfowl and wildlife and expand hunting and fishing opportunities for the American people.

In September of 2016, the newly restored Cherokee Marsh Wildlife Area was opened to the public for hunting. Before the habitat restoration, the primary hunting was for deer and turkey. Since restoration, hunting opportunities have been expanded to include waterfowl, pheasant and woodcock. Habitat improvements include 31 acres of harvestable cool season grass habitat, seven acres of diverse native pollinator habitat and 12 acres of wetland restoration. The restored wetland and grassland habitat will provide nesting and brood rearing opportunities for mallards and wood ducks. The bordering Yahara River also provides fishing opportunities and connectivity to other habitat. Game fish available include largemouth bass, white crappie, brown trout and bluegill. In 2018, there are plans in conjunction with state highway construction to develop additional parking and boat access to the river. As an added bonus, the property is adjacent to 1,300 acres of state and county lands that are managed as part of the Cherokee Marsh Wetland Complex.

In reflecting on the project, Dane County Park Director Darren Marsh said, “We’ve been honored to partner with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife program on projects like this one which have provided important assistance to our county and local governments to improve habitat on public lands and increase access for recreation.”

Funding for restoration is through financial support from the Madison Sewerage District and in-kind services of the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program and Dane County Parks. Since 1993 the County and Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program have partnered on more than forty habitat projects to restore wetlands, streams, prairies and savannas for the benefit of the American people. Learn more about hunting and fishing opportunities at the Dane County Wildlife Areas website.

A local contractor is using an excavator to fill a ditch that drained wetlands. Photo by Mike Engel/USFWS.
A local contractor is using an excavator to fill a ditch that drained wetlands. Photo by Mike Engel/USFWS.