LPRWEP addresses regional water issues
By Taylor J. Hale
Special to the Gazette
PLOVER — The Little Plover River Watershed Enhancement Project (LPRWEP) team began working on their agenda to deal with water depletion and wetland issues during the group’s Work Party on Dec. 8.
After years of legal turmoil, the coalition is making strides to compose a better waterscape for the Portage County area.
“A lot of the fighting has been policy-wise,” said Tracy Hames, Wisconsin Wetlands Association. “Once that was straightened out, we put some goals together and started raising money. We raised funds in a lot of ways. Mostly through programs that fund restoration work.”
The LPRWEP group works in collaboration with the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association, Wisconsin Wetlands Association and the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation to develop their plan of action for the watershed, wetlands and depletion issues. The overgrowth physically has changed the form of the river, causing it to be too wide and shallow. The coalition strives to make the waterways narrow and deep again.
“The project is dealing a lot with water quantity,” Hames said. “If you drop the water too low it drys up the river and the wetlands.”
Volunteers from the community came to cut and bundle brush and alder along the riverside for the event. Aides will then place the bundles along channels in the area to narrow their flowage, in turn adding much-needed depth. In a sense, funneling their streams.
“We are looking at certain locations where the work needs to be done to be most efficient to bring the flow and habitat back to the river,” Hames explained.
The group is working hand-in-hand with farmers, community leaders and other conservation groups to secure the future protection of the waterway and its aquatic life. They have obtained more than $2.67 million in new investments for current and future projects since their inception in 2017.
“This is so exciting, and this is why our association is involved,” Hames said. “We are interested in getting communities working together to help address the water issues that they are facing. Water is one of the most important resources in the area. For development, drinking water and so much more, we all need water.”
For more info on the LPRWEP check out their literature and handout at https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/groundwater/documents/LittlePloverRiverProjectUpdate.pdf. For future volunteer events visit the Wisconsin Wetlands Association Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/WisconsinWetlands/.