Rehabilitating the lifeblood that creates thriving communities
The North Platte River is one of the most significant rivers in the American West. Damming for irrigation in the early 1900s and resulting reservoirs drastically changed the flow of water and sediment, leading to a gradual devolution of the river. As the population of the City of Casper grew, so did the impacts of urban development, at one point leading to the river’s designation as the most polluted waterway in the country. By the early 2010s, it was also plagued by invasive Russian olive trees, bank instability, and channel widening.
However, City leaders and residents knew the value of the river, including its designation as a blue-ribbon trout fishery, and began championing for its revitalization. They reached out to our team to help them develop a master plan and lead efforts to restore the river.
The decade long effort began in 2012 with identifying potential river restoration opportunities for stabilizing riverbanks and determining ways to preserve and enhance the ecosystem. The City prioritized six river reaches for restoration. Over the next four years, we worked with them to design and implement the first three reaches.
These reaches have already benefited from the revitalization with improved fisheries habitat, floodplain reconnection, and native revegetation. In addition to ecological uplift, public access and aesthetic improvements have reconnected people to the river.
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