CASPER, Wyo. – Wyatt Warner, a member of Scout Troop 1035, plans to organize and lead the construction of fences to protect a wetland complex near the North Platte River to begin his efforts to achieve Eagle Scout rank. The project aims to protect wetland wildlife from frequent disturbance caused by dogs in Morad off-leash park.
Warner told Casper City Council on Tuesday, August 24, that other members of his troop would help build the fence under his direction. Other volunteers will also be sought for the project if Casper City Council gives formal approval for it to happen.
The Murie Audubon Society is asking the city to allow fencing on some of its Morad Park properties. A wetland complex covers part of the Morad Park lands as well as adjacent lands owned by the Murie Audubon Society and lands owned by Wyoming Game and Fish.
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Game and Fish Region Habitat and Access Supervisor Matt Pollock said the department’s regional leadership team discussed the Murie Audubon Society’s proposal and that “we are all Okay”.
Game and Fish will volunteer to help and remove part of its existing fence as part of the project to allow for the installation of a new fence to protect the entire wetland complex.
Murie Audubon Society board member and Audubon Rockies community science coordinator Zach Hutchinson told city council the Murie Audubon Society has started putting up a fence to protect only the property it owns. a few years ago, but put this project on hold 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 act as a barrier to off-leash dogs, the wetland would not be fully enclosed on all sides, so ungulates will still have access to the wetland on the perimeter of Morad Park.
Council member Bruce Knell asked if the fence project will remove all access to ponds in the area.
Hutchinson said the fence will block ponds that are on the Murie Audubon Society property, but only block a pond that is in Morad Park. This would leave another 4-5 ponds that dogs could still access in the park without a leash.
The fence project will also have no impact on access to the river. Hutchinson added that the fence will not block any trails in Morad Park and that the fence will be away from the trails.
Council member Steve Cathey asked what type of fence would be installed.
Hutchinson said the current concept is to install woven wire three feet high at ground level with a smooth wire above it. No barbed wire would be installed. He said the woven thread would keep dogs out while still allowing smaller organisms to access the wetland complex.
Council member Lisa Engebretsen asked when the project would be finished.
Hutchinson said organizers believe the fence could be installed within two days of volunteering in September.
The council has indicated its support for the proposal, but will have to officially vote on whether to authorize the project to proceed at a regular council meeting.