The Little Plover River in Plover, a state designated “exceptional resource water” and a naturally reproducing trout stream, has been named No. 4 on the list of America’s Most Endangered Rivers by American Rivers organization.
The listing says the Little Plover River, a Class 1 trout stream, is threatened by dramatic increases in ground water withdrawals that have repeatedly caused sections of the river to run dry in late summer. Historic data shows how low flows have coincided with the expansion of wells drilled for irrigation, as well as industrial and municipal use.
Today, the Little Plover River competes for ground water with 14,000 people, 5,500 acres of irrigated crops, a paper mill and a vegetable processing plant. It has been increasingly flow-stressed since the 1990s, nearly went dry in 2003, and has dried almost every year since 2005.
Historically, there is no record of the Little Plover River ever being flow stressed or drying up prior to the 1990s.
American Rivers and its partners have called on the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to develop and implement management plans restricting large well development and ensuring adequate water flows in the Little Plover River and throughout the state.
The Little Plover River is the smallest waterway on the list, flowing only six miles from its headwaters into the Wisconsin River.
The other rivers are 1. Colorado River in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming; 2. Flint River in Georgia; 3. San Saba River in Texas; 5. Catawba River in North and South Carolina; 6. Boundary Waters in Minnesota; 7. Black Warrior River in Alabama; 8. Rough and Ready and Baldface creeks in Oregon; 9. Kootenai River in British Columbia, Montana and Idaho; and 10. Niobrara River in Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming.