North Platte River near Casper, Wyoming. Drill rig west of Casper, Wyoming. Trout on the North Platte River, Wyoming. Coal mine in the Powder River Basin, Wyoming. Aspen grove on Muddy Mountain south of Casper, Wyoming.
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Casper Field Office

Cooperative Success Stories

Over the years, the Casper Field Office has implemented a multiple-use reservoirs program. By spending just a little more money reservoirs could be constructed that could be used as recreational fisheries, protected wetland habitat areas, and at the same time provide water for livestock and wildlife. In order for this to work, BLM had to seek partners. To date, there are about half a dozen of these reservoirs on the public lands administered by the Casper BLM.

Not all reservoirs constructed by the Casper office are suitable for multiple use, and certain criteria has to be met. First and most importantly, the reservoir has to be accessible to the public. Second, the geology and run-off potential must be favorable to the construction of a large deep reservoir. Last but not least, our constituents and partners must show an interest and be willing to cooperate in the project.

Petro Reservoir.
Our latest and possibly our best multiple-use reservoir project is a newly constructed reservoir in the Salt Creek Oil Field about 6 miles south of Midwest called the Petro Reservoir. The reservoir is the closest trout fishery for the residents of Midwest and Edgerton. BLM constructed the reservoir so at high water it would be 19 feet deep and cover over five (5) surface acres. A pasture fence crosses the dam, but a walk-through structure was placed in the fence allowing fishers to park outside the fence and walk a short 50 feet into the reservoir area.

Since water from the Madison Aquifer is being piped to various locations in the oil field, the group agreed that the reservoir would be filled and maintained with Madison water. It would not have to depend on natural and unreliable run-off.

Representatives from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, Howell Petroleum, BLM, the Wyoming Fly Casters, and Frank Shepperson (grazing lessee) have cooperated to make this project a success. BLM provided the reservoir site and has shared in the cost of purchasing pipeline materials and may construct an exclosure around the reservoir. Howell Petroleum has agreed to pipe the Madison water to the reservoir and construct the pipeline. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department will stock the reservoir with trout and will cost share with BLM in buying pipeline materials. Frank Shepperson has agreed to relinquish part of his opportunity to water livestock on the reservoir provided water is available in the form of a water gap or off-site. Lastly, the Wyoming Fly Casters have accepted maintenance responsibilities on the exclosure once it is constructed.

Hopefully, this little success story demonstrates, how great things happen on the public lands when people and agencies pull together to accomplish good things.

Pipeline to Petro Reservoir.
During the summer of 2002, Howell Petroleum laid a surface pipeline from an existing water line to the drainage immediately above Petro Reservoir. Enough pipeline has been laid to provide water to a storage tank and trough that will be located outside the reservoir exclosure as well as provide water to Petro Reservoir.

A decision was made to allow water to flow about .2 mile down a drainage to the reservoir to ensure that the water has cooled sufficiently before reaching the reservoir. "No Problem!" The 180-degree water cooled a great deal while traveling 1 mile through the surface line and is actually quite cool by the time it flows down the drainage to the reservoir. Currently, the water is flowing into the reservoir at a rate of 15 gallons a minute. At this rate, the reservoir should fill completely by this coming fall or winter. As of March 6, 2003, the water level had already risen to within 7 feet of the overflow-drop-structure.

Our short-term plans are to:

  • Equip the pipeline with a storage tank and trough so the grazing lessee will have quality off-site water for livestock.
  • Once off-site water for livestock is available, BLM will build an exclosure around the reservoir that will serve to keep livestock and vehicles out, yet it will be constructed to give recreationists and wildlife access to the water.
  • Paul Mavrakas; Fisheries Biologist for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WG&FD) has plans to stock small trout in the reservoir this spring.
  • Geoff Klein; Aquatic Habitat Biologist (WG&FD) is formulating plans to establish appropriate aquatic vegetation in the reservoir as well as trees and shrubs inside the exclosure boundary.