Actually Understanding Important And Astonishing River Ecosystems
By Molly • April 4, 2017
Both the Upper and Lower sections of the Animas River flow right through the heart of the San Juan Mountains along and provide some of the most raging and fun-filled rafting in Colorado. The Animas River is the backbone of Southwest Colorado, specifically Durango. The locals take extra caution to care for the Animas River to keep it flowing healthy for years to come. The Animas River is one of the last free-flowing rivers in Colorado and has one of the best Gold Medal Water fly-fishing sections in Colorado. This makes it a unique destination for anglers, rafters, and outdoor enthusiasts alike. Conservation holds a very special place in the hearts of Animas River enthusiasts. Keep the Animas River flow.
What lives in the Animas River flow?
The Animas River is considered “big water” as it is nearly 100 feet wide in spots, which provides a great niche for fish to live and an even better niche for anglers to catch and release. Home to cutthroat, rainbow and brown trout, the Animas River flow allows these fish to grow large since the river is so big. It is not uncommon to catch 10-15 inch trout. The most common species in the Animas is the Rainbow trout, making up about 70% of angler catch. Next comes brown trout at 25%. There is a very limited survival of native cutthroat trout. The trout in the Animas River flow feed on sculpins, which lie on the bottom of the river in the mud and dirt. However, due to a high pH in the Animas River the bottom of the river is slick, so be careful wading out into the water! Colorado Parks and Wildlife works hard to keep the animas river flow healthy. Some regulations put into place are standard bag limits for anglers. These depend on what section of the river you are on. Stocking the Animas with rainbow and brown trout is common and based on current results done through scientific studies. If you are lucky enough to take a raft trip on the Animas river, look into the water and see what lives below the surface. What seems like just flowing water is actually a vibrant ecosystem!
Does the Animas River flow clean water?
In August of 2015, the Animas river experienced a pollution disaster when three million gallons of toxic mining waste spilled into the river, causing the river to turn a bright orange color. One year later, the Animas River flow is clear again! This is due to the hard work of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) crews and federal steps toward a Superfund cleanup and by September, the EPA declared an “all clear” from the spill, despite potential long-term effects. Today the Animas River is as healthy as ever running over 250 cubic feet per second (CFS), which is expected to rise as spring arrives. In short, the Animas River is clean and the ecosystem is back to normal!
Conservation of the Animas River is of the utmost importance today in Durango and the Southwest. The many species of the Animas River thrive in their ecosystem and provide tourists and locals alike with hours of fun on the water. Whether it be rafting, fishing, tubing, or relaxing on the side we all rely on the Animas River Flow. Help us protect and cherish this valuable resource. If you are coming to Durango, the Animas River is one thing you will want to check out for yourself!