Support the Health of the Animas River
By Molly • January 26, 2016
August of 2015 – Our beloved Animas River was contaminated by an accidental mine spill caused by the EPA. The orange colored images of the river spread throughout the world and it became a top news story.
But, luck was on our side. No one was hurt or injured as the spillage burst out of the mine. We got all our guests off the river prior to the contamination hitting the sections of river we were on that day. Invertibrates survived. Fish survived. The orange color pushed through.
As devastating as the spill was, it had a silver lining. We are now more educated about what is flowing into our river. Mine drainage is now being filtered before flowing into the Animas River thus we have cleaner water than we had in over a decade. However, we also know there are many other mine dangers all through out Colorado and the West.
Therefore, we support the San Juan Clean Water Coalition. They are actively and successfully working to protect, reconnect and restore the Animas River by implementing a five point plan. Below is a brief summary of their goals and plan.
1. Construct and operate a water treatment facility to remove the bulk of heavy metals from different mines (Gold Kind, Red and Bonita, American Tunnel, and Mogul) that are currently draining into Cement Creek, a tributary to the Animas.
2. Secure funding from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure immediate and long-term economic as well as environmental recovery for all downstream users. This however, takes time.
3. Create a new clean-up policy to clean the 32 abandoned mines in the Animas River headwaters. This includes Good Samaritan legislation to allow reputable groups like Trout Unlimited and the Animas River Stakeholders Group to help reclaim these mines. It also includes supporting Mining Law Reform so that new and existing mine owners pay their share of cleanup.
4. Work with nonprofits, government agencies, citizen groups, and tribes to ensure water quality. Already in place is a sediment and macro invertebrate monitoring program.
5. Explore other possible steps to secure the long-term health of the Animas River by reaching out to the community.
Please join us in supporting the San Juan Clean Water Coalition. Financial contributions are greatly appreciated and are a good investment in the health of our beloved Animas River, a 126 mile free flowing river that offers a diversity of activities: fly fishing, kayaking, rafting, tubing, and relaxing!