By Joe Bachman
Members of the Wisconsin DNR and the United States Geological Survey reported their findings from a recent study of the Little Plover River on Tuesday night to a full venue.
The presentation, given at Michelson Hall at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, detailed a study done on the Little Plover River regarding the effects of high capacity wells on river flow in the region. Though preliminary, the findings concluded that in the case of the Little Plover River, high capacity wells not only depleted water levels in the river, but levels of the river never fully returned to their original state.
The simulation found that wells would have to be stopped for more than a year for the river to return to original levels.
“The goal of this study was to develop a protocol — because Little Plover is only one part of a bigger system, and I know many people are interested in other parts of Central Sands,” said Dr. Ken Bradbury of the Wisconsin Geological Survey. “We believe that the techniques we used are appropriate for moving to larger areas if there was willingness and funding available.”
Residents from counties in the Central Sands region were on hand, notably from Saratoga, and they would later hit the panel with questions regarding the possibilities of the same study done for that region. It was estimated by researchers that a study of the Central Sands region would cost the state roughly $750,000.
Representative Scott Krug (R-Wisconsin Rapids) was on hand, and spoke about the need for future legislation that would target specific areas of the region.
“We do have to keep doing this, and it’s part of the project we’re going to keep working on for legislation moving forward,” said Krug. “$750,000 in the grand scheme is not the problem — we have to let the science do the work.”
“The fact is, this is an opportunity for us to really move this discussion forward and to talk about the possibilities, and bring all of the stakeholders together at the table,” said Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point). “Now we have the tool to be able to look at our groundwater usage and to come up with a solid management plan.”
The study of the Little Plover River will go under peer reviews before final publication.