(Google Maps photo)
(Google Maps photo)

The village of Plover has announced its intent to develop and implement a Little Plover River Flow and Watershed Enhancement Plan in continuing its desire to implement water resource management measures within the Little Plover River Watershed.

The plan’s principal goal is to identify and implement solutions to improve Little Plover River stream flows and increase water retention within the Little Plover River Watershed.

Solutions that will be evaluated for implementation include: adjusting groundwater use, restoring the connection between the Little Plover River floodway, flood plain and upland system; removing sediment from the stream; establishing permanent buffers adjacent to the stream; using stormwater infiltration in areas where land use and topography are suitable; restoring wetlands in areas that will have greatest public benefits; determining the feasibility of a wetland mitigation bank to help offset project costs; and restoring native vegetation in uplands in the watershed to enhance water quality and quantity in a way that is compatible with current uses.

An initial stakeholder group, with members representing the village of Plover, agriculture, agri-business and conservation groups has been assembled to review and implement the goals, objectives and recommendations of the Little Plover River Flow and Watershed Enhancement Plan.

The stakeholder group, with assistance from the village of Plover, will develop and implement voluntary, land-based practices that will have positive, long-term impacts on water resource management within the Little Plover River Watershed.

The village will also seek to develop partnerships with landowners, businesses, conservation groups, federal and state government, and Portage County. The village will seek support from landowners, state government and businesses for potential projects on their properties.

The village will also work with government and conservation groups to identify projects that fit within their programming requirements and then seek funding assistance for implementation of projects they wish to participate in.

 “The Little Plover River Flow and Watershed Enhancement Plan represents a significant step forward to implement solutions to improve Little Plover River stream flows and increase water retention within the watershed,” Dan Mahoney, village of Plover administrator, said. “Efforts will now focus on the entire watershed, where initial efforts by the village and others were focused on areas adjacent to the river.”

The Little Plover River Flow and Watershed Enhancement Plan will be prepared and implemented in three phases.

Phase 1 is underway and includes data collection, site investigation and identification of potentially restorable areas. The village has hired Montgomery Associates to complete Phase 1. This work is anticipated to be completed in March 2017.

Phase 2 will identify a wide range of solutions to improve stream flow and other conditions in the watershed, and priority actions for implementation. Phase 2 is anticipated to begin in April 2017.

Phase 3 will include project development, design and implementation. Phase 3 is tentatively scheduled to begin in the fall of 2017.

“It is imperative that this plan focus on addressing the concerns of the public, environmental groups, government, property owners and the agriculture industry,” Mahoney said, “because plan implementation will require the support and participation of all these groups to enhance water resources while meeting the needs of municipal, agriculture, industrial and private water users.”

If successful, Mahoney said the group’s efforts could be used as a template in other watersheds throughout the state to address groundwater concerns.