Yahara River

© Photographed October 16, 2015
Erected 1977 by the Dane County Natural History Marker System
Stroughton, Dane County, Wisconsin
42° 51.663′ N, 89° 10.269′ W
Small rivers provide some of the most diverse wildlife habitat in Dane County. This site alone offers a wide assortment of terrestrial and aquatic niches -- dry sand, wet mud, shady forests, cattail marshes, sedge meadows, bushes and brambles, shallow pools and the river itself.

If you do not actually spot a muskrat, deer, possum, skunk or raccoon, many signs along the shore tell the story of the river's denizens. Crayfish build miniature mud castles, while beavers and muskrats burrow holes in the bank. Clams leave furrows in the sand, and their empty shells dot the shore. Giant herons and other predatory birds leave a white-wash in trees.

Two hydrological cycles have produced this rich biological diversity. In the seasonal cycle, the river deposits new soil across the flood plain as the banks overflow with spring rains and melting snow. As water volume shrinks in the summer, new land is exposed to invading plants. Temporary ponds become breeding sites for insects, fish, frogs and toads. The meander cycle created the loop in the Yahara river here. As the main current whips back and forth, it cuts the bank in one place and deposits soil in another. Over the years, this process also creates small lakes and a variety of wetlands.

The river is forever varying the landscape. Look for new trees sprouting on exposed mud or sand, and old trees falling in where the river swings back and undercuts its banks.
NOTE: This Marker has gone Missing

The marker was located at a highway turnout alongside the Yahara River, on eastbound County Highway N, east of its intersection with Bricskon, Stoughton, Wisconsin 53589.

Even though the marker is missing, it was such a gorgeous fall morning I decided to photograph the river.

 View of the Yahara River from where the marker was located.

 Looking south from County Highway N.

 Looking north from County Highway N.

 Looking west along County Highway N,
about a mile from where the marker was located.

 A nearby barn . . .

The marker's location is in the outskirts of Stoughton, Wisconsin.

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