- Associated Press - Friday, December 26, 2014

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - The Casper City Council plans to make restoration of the North Platte River through town a top priority over the next several years and might seek more state funds for the effort.

Blue-ribbon trout fishing exists upstream of Casper, but the fishing isn’t that good in town.

Stabilizing the river’s banks, improving water flow and restoring wildlife habitat in the city limits will cost close to $16 million. The city has budgeted $3 million for river restoration work next year.

At least some money could come from the state of Wyoming. Council members decided informally Tuesday to proceed with a state grant application, the Casper Star-Tribune reports (https://bit.ly/1CMRrxk ).

The city is eligible for a $500,000 community-enhancement grant each year through the Wyoming Business Council. The program would require Casper to match half of the grant money through city funds, donations or in-kind services.

The state awarded a $500,000 grant in May for work at a park, but the city received only a single bid that came in over budget.

The project will be rebid with a longer timeline, and officials will consider using different contractors for different aspects of the job, City Manager John Patterson said.

“There’s only so much time between when the flow lessens and the river freezes over, so we were trying to rush and hurry the project along,” Patterson said. “That made it difficult for contractors.”

A $90,000 river restoration plan paid for primarily by the oil and gas industry was completed in 2012. River advocates hope the river restoration will boost property values, increase fishing tourism and attract businesses.


Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, https://www.trib.com



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