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Chub and Mud Lake Riverine Marsh

No. 606



Chub and Mud Lake Riverine Marsh is part of an extensive, 7,000-acre wetland impacted by "pulse-flooding" of the Beaver Dam and Crawfish Rivers that join 1.5 miles away. Water from about 688 square miles flows through the marsh. In years of very high water, the upper half of the marsh is inundated with 4 to 5 feet of water with the deepest occurring in the southern portion. Aside from spring snowmelt flooding, the wetland holds about 6 to 18 inches of water following a storm event. This occurs approximately 2 to 3 times per season. Much of the year, however, the marsh does not have any standing water, so drought has a major influence on the wetland vegetation.

The highly dynamic nature of this riverine wetland creates very unique ecological conditions. Due to the extreme water levels, the marsh is dominated by very few plants, primarily river bulrush and native Phragmites. Cat tails, which were a previous component, were killed by the extended high water in the June 2008 flood. Houghton muck soils dominate the marsh and while it can absorb water readily, it can also pass freely through it. This area is used by a diversity of wildlife including sandhill cranes, great egrets, great blue herons, tundra swans, and a wide variety of waterfowl. The high quality of this area and extensive acreage also contribute to the high use of this site by foraging bats. Chub and Mud Lake Riverine Marsh is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 2010.

Very few State Natural Areas have public facilities, but nearly all are open for a variety of recreational activities as indicated below. Generally, there are no picnic areas, restrooms, or other developments. Parking lots or designated parking areas are noted on individual SNA pages and maps. If a developed trail is present, it will normally be noted on the SNA map and/or under the Maps tab. A compass and topographic map or a GPS unit are useful tools for exploring larger, isolated SNAs.

The good majority of SNAs are isolated and have few or no facilities. Some SNAs have vehicle access lanes or parking lots, but their accessibility may vary depending on weather conditions. Parking lots and lanes are not plowed during winter. Hiking trails may be nonexistent or consist of undeveloped footpaths. A GPS unit or compass and a detailed topographic map are useful tools for exploring larger SNAs.

Entrance fees: Excepting Parfrey's Glen, the Cambrian Outlook in the Dells of the Wisconsin River, SNAs within State Parks and some within State Forests, all other DNR-owned SNAs do not have any admission fees. For more information, see Wis. Admin. Code NR 45 [exit DNR]. For non-DNR-owned SNAs, we are unaware of any vehicle or admission fees. However, please contact the landowner for more information.

Allowable activities: DNR-owned land

The activities listed below are generally allowed on all DNR-owned SNA lands. Exceptions to this list of public uses, such as SNAs closed to hunting, are noted above and posted with signs on the property site.

Prohibited activities: all SNAs

Although a handful of sites allow activities like primitive camping (e.g. Lower Chippewa River on sand bars) or horseback riding (e.g. S. Kettle Moraine), the activities listed below are generally prohibited on DNR-owned SNAs.

  • Camping and campfires
  • Collecting of animals (other than legally harvested species), non-edible fungi, rocks, minerals, fossils, archaeological artifacts, soil, downed wood, or any other natural material, alive or dead.
  • Collecting for scientific research requires a permit issued by the DNR
  • Collecting of plants including seeds, roots or other non-edible parts of herbaceous plants such as wildflowers or grasses
  • Drones: Flying-related activities, including the use of drones, hang-gliders and model airplanes, are prohibited. Permission may be issued by the SNA Program for the use of drones for educational or research purposes
  • Geocaching
  • Horseback riding
  • Rock climbing
  • Vehicles, including bicycles, ATVs, aircraft, and snowmobiles except on trails and roadways designated for their use.

For rules governing state-owned SNAs and other state lands, please consult Chapter NR 45 Wis. Admin. Code [exit DNR].


Within Mud Lake Wildlife Area, Dodge County. T9N-R13E, Sections 24, 25. T9N-R14E, Sections 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 30. 1,987 acres.

Driving directions

Several parking lots and boat access sites provide access to the marsh.

The DNR's state natural areas program is comprised of lands owned by the state, private conservation organizations, municipalities, other governmental agencies, educational institutions and private individuals. While the majority of SNAs are open to the public, access may vary according to individual ownership policies. Public use restrictions may apply due to public safety, or to protect endangered or threatened species or unique natural features. Lands may be temporarily closed due to specific management activities.

Users are encouraged to contact the landowner for more specific details. The data shown on these maps have been obtained from various sources, and are of varying age, reliability, and resolution. The data may contain errors or omissions and should not be interpreted as a legal representation of legal ownership boundaries. To create your custom map where you can zoom to a specific location, please use the DNR's Mapping Application.

Property Map [PDF]

Chub and Mud Lake Riverine Marsh is owned by: Wisconsin DNR

Management objectives and prescriptions

  • Remove non-native phragmites, if found.
  • Conduct moist soil management if deemed necessary along the edge of the uplands where canary grass is usually dominant. Bidens and smartweed are abundant in the seed bank. This management could include herbicide canary grass and prescribed burning.
  • Conduct prescribed burns on adjacent uplands.

Glacial Heritage Area

GHA Master Plan [PDF]