Our Animas 2018

Our Animas 2018 addresses 10 concerns of watershed residents. The report compiles and shares information collected by others, and calls on you to bring your own data, experiences and observations of the river and the watershed, to examine longer term concerns surrounding the resilience of our river. 
10 Local Concerns about the Animas River
The following 10 questions guide Our Animas 2018:
1. Is my water safe to drink?
2. Is my water safe to play in?
3. Is food produced with my water safe to eat?
4. Is the river safe for fish, wildlife and pets?
5. How is the overall function of the Animas River system?
6. What is impacting the natural system?
7. What is the trend in river system condition?
8. Can the river sustain impacts?  
9. How is the river supporting community quality of life or not?
10. What is my impact and what can I do?

ARC Forum Monitoring Gaps Committee

The ARC Forum Monitoring Gaps Committee is working to fulfill one goal of ARCF Partners: to inventory monitoring of the river, to identify any key data gaps, and to share the story that the data tells. 

The committee first surveyed local residents to find out their concerns about the river, then identified how existing river monitroing data may address these issues. 

The committee found out who is monitoring the Animas and what data they are collecting. They buttons below link to these data.

ARCF Survey Results
Who is Monitoring the Animas?
Animas River Monitoring Inventory
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Heavy Metals
Heavy Metals can be toxic to humans and animals at specific levels. Currently many initiatives are being made to reduce heavy metals in the Animas River.
Sampling Sites on the Animas:

Arizona Geological Survey interactive map:
Colorado Data Sharing Network:

Useful Links

EPA One Year Report: August 2016.  MStanislaus GKM 1yr ReportWhole 8-1-16.pdf

CDPHE Water Quality Control Division One year Report: August 2016. WQ_GKM-Year-in-Review_08-01-16.pdf

Animas River Stakeholders Group (ARSG): Please view on Monitoring Page. ARSG has worked for the last 21 years to reduce metals in the San Juan Mountains.

Frequently asked questions, potential contaminants, known health risks, and health based screeing levels:

The Colorado Department of Reclamation Mining and Safety can answer mining related questions:

Gold King Story Journal (event timeline with initial metal levels):

All information regarding the Animas River Spill, including Updates and Resources for the community, from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is located here:

EPA Presentation on Fate and Transportation of Sediments February 2016:

GKM Response
Monitoring being done after the Gold King Mine spill incident.
EPA Summary of Superfund Resources Available to Communities: Advisory Group, Technical Assistance Services for Communities, etc.
Jerry McBride: Durango Herald
Bonita Peak Mining District
The Bonita Peak Mining District site consists of 48 historic mines or
mining-related sources where ongoing releases of metal-laden water and
sediments are occurring within Mineral Creek, Cement Creek and the Upper
Animas. Near Silverton, Colorado, these drainages join to form the
Animas River, which is used for drinking water, recreation and
agricultural purposes. Website:
Good Samaritan Legislation
The Mission
There are tens of thousands of abandoned mines in the U.S. Many of these mines emit acid mine drainage laced with heavy metals which can contaminate the water quality of rivers and streams. In a number of instances, Good Samaritans are willing to conduct mine reclamation at these sites if they have environmental liability protection from the Clean Water Act (and perhaps the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). This liability protection which could encourage mine cleanups can only occur through federal legislation. Website:
Nutrient Loading
"Nutrient pollution is the process where too many nutrients, mainly nitrogen and phosphorus, are added to bodies of water and can act like fertilizer, causing excessive growth of algae." : National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. ( )

Excess nutrients or nutrient pollution is also called Eutrophication. Excessive amounts of nutrients can lead to low levels of Dissolved Oxygen which can cause fish kills, or an Increase in Algal growth which causes a decrease in available sunlight.

Nutrients can come from many different sources, such as: natural processes or human processes; such as ferlizers, sewage, or animal waste.
The Blue Planet Project

Useful links

Monitoring: (Please click on organization for webpages)

New Mexico:
City of Durango
Animas Watershed Partnership
City of Farmington
San Juan Soil & Water Conservation District/
San Juan Watershed Group
Sedimentation is the process by which the products of erosion (i.e. rocks, sand, and/or clay) settle out and deposit onto the bottom of a water body.
Some materials in the San Juan Mountains erode more easily than others.  Easily eroded materials include shale, sandstone, and limestone.

Sedimentation can occur on land or in water. It can cause damage of land and cause safety issues on roads.
Sedimentation can cause issues with capacity in rivers, lakes, ditches, canals, etc. Filling them up and displacing water or overflowing onto roads.

Sedimentation is often linked to suspended solids and high turbidity that can affect aquatic life.

Useful links


Bacteria are one celled organisms that are found everywhere. Some bacteria are harmful while others are beneficial (such as fermentation in wine).
E.coli is a type of bacteria used as an indicator of the potential for the presence of pathogens in waterbodies. E.coli is commonly found in the intestinal track of humans and other animals. However there are some strains of E.coli that can cause serious infections.

Potential sources of E. coli and other bacterial contamination include waste from wildlife, livestock and humans.

Rachel Hoffman AWP
These images are from April 2016. The Animas Watershed Partnership held a volunteer event to plant willows along the Florida river. Planting willows provides a buffer from water runoff and bank stabilization.

Image above: This is an example of the information available on the Colorado Data Sharing Network.
Animas Watershed Partnership

San Juan Soil & Water Conservation District/
San Juan Watershed Group

Fish and Wildlife

Visit Colorado Parks and Wildlife for more information:
Local Office: 151 East 16th Street Durango, CO
Phone: (970) 247-0855
Jerry McBride Durango Herald
Durango Herald: Animas River fish survey shows encouraging signs October 5th 2016.

Durango Herald: Health officials OK eating fish from Animas River October 19th 2016.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife

 Great Old Broads

Riparian Buffer

"Riparian Buffers are vegetation left along the banks of a stream or river that that protect water resources from pollution running off the land, stabilize banks and provide habitat for fish and wildlife.

Improving Riparian Buffers can increase water quality and prevent erosion.
One way to increase a riparian buffer is by planting native plants, like willows, cottonwoods and buffaloberry..

Fort Lewis College Biology Department is monitoring Vegetation Cover.
AWP- Implementing BMPs.

Photo by: Rachel Hoffman

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