Saturday , 25 February 2017


A long-awaited study that examines how irrigation is affecting the closely watched Little Plover River in central Wisconsin could help prevent the river from running dry again. The results of the state-funded research may also provide clues on how large-scale groundwater withdrawals are impacting streams, rivers and lakes elsewhere, according to scientists. Groundwater issues have become increasingly contentious in Wisconsin, especially in the 1.75 million acre Central Sands region — home to a large potato and vegetable growing industry. The region relies on more than 3,000 high-capacity wells to grow crops. The Little Plover, a Class 1 trout stream, flows for about 6 miles near Stevens Point before it enters the Wisconsin River. But more than its reputation for fishing, the river is infamously known for stretches that run dry, as they did in 2005 and 2009. The culprit? For years, scientists have said irrigation of potato and vegetable crops have had a major impact on the river. Wisconsin is the No. 3 producer of potatoes in the country, and much of the crop is centered around Stevens Point.

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