WPVGA Partners on Watershed Enhancement Project

Published online: Oct 08, 2018 Articles
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The Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association joined the Village of Plover, Wis., and other partners at a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the commencement of the first phase on-the-ground restoration projects to be implemented as part of the Little Plover River Watershed Enhancement Project (LPRWEP).

The event took place Oct. 4 at the Little Plover River Conservancy Area on Black Oak Drive. 

“The WPVGA fully supports the Little Plover River Watershed Enhancement Project because it is the right thing to do,” said Tamas Houlihan, WPVGA executive director. 

“We have been working on issues related to the Little Plover River for many years, and in April of 2017 the WPVGA’s Water Task Force approved a funding request from the Village of Plover for approximately $64,000 to begin a project collaboration with the following partners:  The Village of Plover, the Wisconsin Wetlands Association, Montgomery Associates, DeWitt, Ross & Stevens, DNR, UWSP, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, and others.

“This funding helped launch the flow enhancement project which is important because the Little Plover River is an outstanding water resource located within the heart of a major potato and vegetable production area,” Houlihan continued. “The WPVGA is happy to collaborate with any and all stakeholders to maintain and improve this watershed. Moving forward, I expect the WPVGA to contribute a lot more to ensure the success of this project.”

Since its inception, the project has received more than $2.1 million in investments, including funds from the Wisconsin DNR, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and state government, as well as the WPVGA.  Houlihan commended the leadership of Village of Plover Administrator Dan Mahoney in bringing diverse stakeholders together, as well as the leadership and cooperation of WPVGA farms such as Mryon Soik & Sons, Worzella & Sons, Plover River Farms, Heartland Farms and the Wysocki Family of Companies.

Houlihan said it is not unusual for the WPVGA to work with conservation groups, as the Association has a long history of seeking out and working collaboratively with a number of environmental groups such as the World Wildlife Fund, the International Crane Foundation, Defenders of Wildlife, and many others. 

 “Many WPVGA members are active environmentalists who truly love and appreciate the land and water upon which they work,” he said.  “This is an extremely positive collaboration which is demonstrating how a number of different stakeholders with varied interests can work together to voluntarily find solutions to complex and oftentimes difficult situations.”

 The WPVGA’s primary goal in working on the project is to protect the Little Plover River watershed and its associated streams, lakes and wetlands while promoting a sustainable agricultural industry. 

 Following the program, participants were invited to take a short driving tour to learn about additional restoration work that is taking place in, adjacent to, and upstream of the Little Plover River.  Collaborators from Montgomery Associates, Wisconsin Wetlands Association, and other restoration partners were at the sites to discuss the objectives of these stream and wetland restoration activities.  

The LPRWEP is a multiparty collaboration convened by the Village of Plover to improve the health of the Little Plover River and the quality of life of the surrounding community. The LPRWEP aims to use best available data and voluntary conservation actions to:

  • Increase the flow and improve the aquatic health of the Little Plover River.
  • Implement voluntary water management projects that improve the health of the Little Plover River Watershed.
  • Improve and expand fish and wildlife habitat and public recreation opportunities and access.

“We plan to do all of this while maintaining a healthy and viable agricultural industry in the area,” Houlihan said.  “We believe that this project can serve as a model and lead to other collaborative efforts in other areas of the state.  It’s an extremely exciting project and I am proud that the WPVGA is a strong partner in it.”

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