Popple River project in Wisconsin connects critical trout water

By Laura MacFarland

The U.S. Forest Service, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Trout Unlimited, Florence County and the Town of Fence recently partnered to replace an undersized culvert on the South Branch of the Popple River in Wisconsin.

The project on the state-designated Wild River and Trout Stream was completed in September 2018.

Prior to the replacement the crossing was prone to overtopping, hindered fish passage, and required canoeists to portage.

The 6.75-feet wide by 5-feet high circular culvert was replaced with a 19-feet wide by 6-feet high aluminum box culvert.

The new structure was designed by Trout Unlimited and the U.S. Forest Service, and will pass flood flows, fish and paddlers.

The culvert replacement, in conjunction with a replacement upstream (completed recently month by the USFS) reconnected over 8 miles of coldwater habitat.

This project was made possible by Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding granted to Trout Unlimited by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Sustain Our Great Lakes Program.

Additional funding for the project came from We Energies and the U.S. Forest Service.

Laura MacFarland is Trout Unlimited’s Great Lakes Stream Restoration Coordinator. She is based in Wisconsin.

By Mark Taylor. A native of rural southern Oregon, Mark Taylor has lived in Virginia since serving a stint as a ship-based naval officer in Norfolk. He joined the TU staff in 2014 after a 20-year run as a newspaper journalist, the final 16 as the outdoors editor of the Roanoke Times. A graduate of Northwestern University, he lives in Roanoke with his wife and, when they're home from college, his twin daughters.