Letter: Plover River Crossing an unnecessary encroachment on ‘pristine’ nature

To the Editor-

I speak for the trees, the plants, wildlife, micro-organisms, and our environment. It is an insult to the environment and property owners that the city/state continues to swale beautiful areas that have no reason to be swaled.

A swale is allegedly able to make things right with polluted stormwater that enters the Wisconsin River. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and communities in Wisconsin are being told to do swales (often where they are not needed) to get credits for MS4 permits.

In Stevens Point, on the east side of town, we have sand as our main soil component. Whenever there is rain or snowmelt, the water soaks into the earth as nature intended. There are no issues with the water filtering through the sand. So then, why do we have our trees, plants, topsoil, and wildlife stripped away to make swales?

This process has no effect whatsoever on the city’s polluted water sent to the river through the stormwater drains. If the DNR/city wanted to make progress on changing that polluting process, they would be required to install some form of filters to accomplish the deed. It is ludicrous to think that tearing up our trees, plants, topsoil, wildlife habitats, and environment will somehow change the pollution 2.8 miles away. Our stormwater/snowmelt is filtered the way it should.

If the city stormwater is a problem, then it should be dealt with in a way that corrects the problem. As I suggested earlier, perhaps filtering equipment of some sort is needed. Or perhaps, shutting off the splash pad that uses 5.2 MILLION gallons of city water every summer, immediately sending it down the stormwater drains, would help with the pollution issues.

I have tried to find out who came up with this outlandish plan across the state. I have spoken with the state DNR, but have not been able to identify anyone at this time. I will continue my search for a person(s) who has nothing better to do than suggest that we dig up one neighborhood after the other to accomplish absolutely nothing.

The city officials say that the swales take standing water off the roads. However, a well-engineered road is crowned, and won’t have standing water. The only standing water we have is in potholes on the streets that haven’t been maintained.

Interestingly, in our neighborhood, we have one corner that is always flooded after rain, but the city will NOT BE CORRECTING THAT CORNER when a new road is built next summer. The city made sure they had an ordinance that said swales would be installed when new roads were built. So why isn’t this corner being done as long as all the road-building equipment is in the immediate vicinity? A city official lives on the street where the corner floods and that particular street has been maintained throughout the years, while the others have not.

Now, if those swales are so important, why would you leave out one street, not tearing up yards in the right-of-way or correcting the worst corner in the neighborhood? You can draw your own conclusions.

Another pending plan the city has tried to get through is the Plover River Crossing, requiring a roadway going through wetlands and across the pristine Plover River area. It will have to be lit and maintained (noisy polluting machinery) to meet the TAP grant requirements.

We already have problems with night-flying birds and bats. They are injured when they cannot fly safely in the dark, as nature intended. The LED lights the city is installing throughout the city are an impairment to them. More lights will not enhance this wildlife area, an area considered a wildlife refuge. Keep our wildlife safe and keep this structure OUT OF THIS WILDLIFE AREA. As one person (in support of the PRC) said, “I can ride my bike out to Target.” That person said people can park their cars at Fleet Farm/Target in order to get to the trail. Did anyone talk to the owners/managers of those stores about that plan?

Now really, is biking to Target a reason to build a path/bridge across a wildlife area, polluting the area with lights, noise, snow removal equipment, and chemicals? I think not. I might suggest if one needs a different way to Target that they check on the city bus routes that go to Target.

Imagine the destruction to our environment. Does anyone think we’ve had enough of man controlling the environment? Let’s make good decisions and let Nature take back what rightfully belongs to her. Man’s interference has not been sound, welcome, or responsible.

“In nature, nothing exists alone.” -Rachel Carson

From Paddlers Paradise: The best thing about the Plover River is that it is relatively unspoiled. For much of its length, it is a northern Wisconsin experience. Few houses in sight, no powerboats, lots of wildlife. It is shallow enough to present little danger and has enough current to move even novices to their destination. The river meanders so it rewards technique, while not demanding it.

Ruth Pfiffner
Stevens Point

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