CASPER, Wyo. — Scout Troop 1035 member Wyatt Warner plans to organize and direct the construction of fencing to protect a wetland complex near the North Platte River to begin his effort to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. The project aims to protect wetland wildlife from frequent disturbance from dogs at the off-leash Morad Park.
Warner told the Casper City Council on Tuesday, August 24 that other members of his troop would help with construction of the fence under his guidance. Other volunteers will also be sought for the project if the Casper City Council gives formal approval for it to happen.
The Murie Audubon Society is asking that the city allow fencing on some of its Morad Park property. A wetland complex covers some of the land at Morad Park as well as adjacent Murie Audubon Society–owned land and Wyoming Game and Fish–owned land.
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Game and Fish Casper Region Habitat and Access Supervisor Matt Pollock said that the department’s regional leadership team has discussed the proposal from the Murie Audubon Society and “we’re all on board.”
Game and Fish will be helping volunteer and removing some of its existing fence as part of the project to allow the installation of new fencing to protect the entire wetland complex.
Murie Audubon Society Board member and Audubon Rockies Community Science Coordinator Zach Hutchinson told the city council that the Murie Audubon Society began installing some fence to protect only the property it owns a few years ago, but put that project on pause when the idea came up that it may be possible to work with Casper and Game and Fish to help protect the entire wetland complex in the area.
Hutchinson said that while the fencing project would be a barrier to off-leash dogs, the wetland wouldn’t be entirely enclosed on all sides so ungulates will still have access to the wetland on the perimeter away from Morad Park.
Council member Bruce Knell asked whether the fencing project will take away all access to ponds within the area.
Hutchinson said that the fencing would block off ponds that are on Murie Audubon Society property but would only block one pond that is in Morad Park. That would leave 4-5 other ponds that dogs could still access in the off-leash park.
The fencing project also won’t impact river access. Hutchinson added that the fencing won’t block off any trails in Morad Park and the fencing will be set back away from the trails.
Council member Steve Cathey asked what type of fencing would be installed.
Hutchinson said that the current concept is to install three-foot-high woven wire at the ground level with smooth wire above. No barbwire would be installed. He said the woven wire would keep dogs out while still allowing smaller organisms to gain access to the wetland complex.
Council member Lisa Engebretsen asked when the project would be complete.
Hutchinson said that organizers think the fencing could be installed within two volunteer days in September.
The council indicated support for the proposal, but will need to formally vote on whether to allow the project to happen during a regular council meeting.