Rehabilitating the lifeblood that creates thriving communities
The North Platte River is one of the most significant rivers in the American West. In the early 1900s, several major dams were constructed upstream of Casper, Wyoming, to provide irrigation for the semi-arid lands in the state. The introduction of large dams and resulting reservoirs drastically changed the flow of water and sediment, leading to a gradual evolution of both the North Platte and rivers downstream.
Although the North Platte River through Casper is classified as blue-ribbon trout water by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, invasive Russian olive trees, bank instability, and channel widening associated with urban development have reduced the aesthetic and functional values of riparian and aquatic habitats.
To help mitigate this, the City of Casper hired us in 2012 to develop a master plan to identify and explore potential river restoration opportunities for stabilizing river banks, preserving the natural beauty of the river, and enhancing riparian vegetation, ecosystem services, and fish habitat. From the master plan, six river reaches totaling over six miles were identified throughout the city limits, and over four years, our team designed and executed two projects—Morad Park and the Wyoming Boulevard/Water Treatment Plant area—restoring over 8,000 linear feet of river.
Goals for the restoration projects included improved fisheries habitat, bank stabilization, floodplain reconnection, native re-vegetation, and improved water quality. The design incorporated fish habitat structures such as woody debris toe protection, as well as bank re-grading, soil bioengineering, and other bank stabilization techniques.
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