North Platte River restoration update

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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) Crews are working on the latest phase of the North Platte River restoration in Casper.

Crews working on the North Platte River restoration in Casper, Wyo. on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019.

The project, which is being done in phases, will eventually restore the entire river within the city limits. The current phase includes river area between the Poplar St. and BNSF bridges. The project started in 2006.

"All of the forces on this river in the past have been negative and what we're attempting to do is make a positive impact on the river for everything and everyone,” said Brian Connely, Natrona County Weed and Pest Supervisor.

He said crews will restore the river back to its naturally functioning ecologically balanced system.

"This project here is designed to both increase the habitat and the function of the river through this section and, at the same time, manage and mitigate any contaminants that's potentially located through this reach,” said project design engineer T.C. Dinkins.

Connely said the project, which involves the City of Casper, other government agencies and private partners, will also mitigate some wastewater runoff problems.

The latest phase hasn’t come without unexpected trouble. Crews found pollution near the river. Casper Assistant City Manager Jolene Martinez said the water is safe but it will cost additional time and money to clean the river. According to city documents, it will add $526,559 to the total cost and the project’s expected completion date is now in June 2021.

"I'm so proud of what my great-great-great-great-grandchildren will look back and say thanks,” Connely said.