So, what does the Platte River Revival have to do with Casper’s watershed?
No matter where you are, you're in a watershed. A watershed is the area of land where all of the water that is under it or drains off of it goes into the same place. Watersheds come in all shapes and sizes. They cross county, state, and national boundaries.
All the water that drains from Casper Mountain and into creeks and drainage's, including the water that runs down your street and into the storm drain, ends up in the North Platte River. And accordingly, Casper is in the North Platte watershed. The appearance of our river has a lot to do with all the water that flows into it.
After a heavy rain, the water in the river may appear cloudy or dirty. This is due to clay and sand, called sediment, being carried by water into the river. Sediment can settle to the bottom of the river and over time it can accumulate as thick layers. This effectively seals off the natural gravel stream bed which is critical for fish, aquatic plants, insects, and other creatures. Excessive sedimentation can block critical sunlight for aquatic plants, ruin fish spawning areas, clog fish gills, increase water temperatures, and decrease the amount of oxygen in the water.
The Platte River Revival’s goal is to improve the appearance and the health of the river. There are many natural things that we can do to improve water quality, increase habitat, and increase the scenic value of the river. One focus area of the Platte River Revival is preventing sediment from runoff and eroding banks.
A natural way to filter sediment from runoff is to create a wetlands area near the river. The plants help to filter suspended sediment out of the water before it reaches the river. Wetlands also provide habitat for birds, amphibians, and other animals. The Platte River Revival will be creating wetlands in different areas along the river.
Bank stabilization is another way that the Platte River Revival will help improve water quality. A bare dirt hill is more vulnerable to erosion than a hill with trees and grasses. The roots of plants help hold soil in place, keeping it from washing away into the river. River banks stabilized with rocks, plants, or trees are less likely to erode and can be very visually appealing.
The plants and trees that the Platte River Revival will use will also create wonderful habitat for small mammals, birds, and larger mammals such as deer.
For more information on watersheds and wetlands, visit the following links!