Our Animas
2019 Edition

Our Animas was created by an ARCF committee that
shared a common vision of creating an educational
document that would address community concerns,
use locally collected data, promote the understanding
of river health, and share actions that community
members can take to support river resiliency. We
intend to update this document every other year. 

Our Animas answers the following community questions:

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 and wildlife?
5) How is the overall function of the Animas River system?
6) How is the Animas River important to our quality of life?
7) What is impacting the natural system?
8) Can the river sustain impacts?
9) What is my impact on the river and what can I do?

For each question, widely recognized indicators are used to reflect current local data to tell the story of the river.
Dive in and take a look here !

Animas River Community Forum releases “Our Animas,” an educational publication exploring Animas River watershed health and safety

       May 20, 2019 – Durango, Colorado – With rising temperatures, flows surpassing 4,000 cfs last week and community attention on spring runoff, the release of the educational booklet “Our Animas” arrives just in time to answer local questions on the watershed’s conditions. “Citizens said we want to know about the condition and health of our river and we want to take care of this resource, but we need relevant and current information to understand what actions we can take” said Barb Horn, from Colorado Parks & Wildlife.  Our Animas tries to be their guide.  
      With the memory of the Gold King Mine release and the 416-Fire still fresh on the public’s minds, the Animas River Community Forum published this booklet to “answer the public's general concern about water safety, impacts to the river, and the river's ability to recover,” said Shannon Manfredi, coordinator for Animas River Community Forum during “Our Animas” production. The document presents locally collected data, promotes the understanding of river health, and shares actions that community members can take to support river resiliency.
     The collection of data and writing of “Our Animas” was a collaborative effort between multiple community partners, including representatives from Animas Watershed Partnership, CO Parks and Wildlife, La Plata County, Mountain Studies Institute, Querencia Environmental, River Watch, San Juan Basin Public Health, San Juan Citizens Alliance, and Animas River Community Forum.  This publication was made possible due to the support of community partners and gracious donations from: 
  • Animas River Wetlands
  • Animas Watershed Partnership
  • Ballantine Family Foundation
  • City of Durango
  • CO Dept. of Reclamation, Mining, & Safety
  • Community Foundation - Harris Family Fund
  • CO Water Conservation Board
  • Great Old Broads for Wilderness
  • Hermosa Company Ditch
  • Michael Baker International
  • Montoia Operations Petroleum Geology
  • National Environmental Education Center
  • Querencia Environmental
  • Region 9 Economic Development
  • San Juan Basin Public Health
  • San Juan Citizens Alliance
  • Southwest Water Conservation District
  • Sunnyside Gold Corporation
  • Trout Unlimited 5 Rivers Chapter
      “We hope that individuals, government groups, schools, rafting companies, train riders, anglers, - everyone - will look at this booklet over and over, and share it with as many people as they can.” Chara Ragland, of Querencia Environmental, highlights the intent of the booklet is to be used by a broad audience to “empower people to learn and see what they can do as individuals to make the watershed a beautiful, healthy, and fun place for generations to come.”
      The Animas River Community Forum intends to update this booklet every other year with new monitoring results and strategies to reduce our impacts and protect this critical water resource.  According to Animas Riverkeeper, Marcel Gaztambide, "San Juan Citizens Alliance is excited about “Our Animas”. It will give people a great look at their beloved river, the challenges it’s currently facing, and the steps we can all take to ensure a healthy river system into the future.”
     The good news is that rivers, like the Animas, have a remarkable ability to rebound from negative impacts and there are steps that we can take, as a watershed community, to help the river recover and maintain a healthy system into the future.
“The Animas River and its adjacent ecosystems need all of us, if healthy parts are to remain healthy and damaged parts are to heal. The goal is to keep monitoring the pulse of the river, provide scientifically sound information every other year for citizen action but also integrate and address citizens’ concerns, perspectives and experiences. It is called ‘our’ Animas on purpose,” according to Horn.