Photo Credit: Riverhugger
By the Colorado Water Trust staff
In October 2016, The Durango Herald carried a modest story sporting the headline, “Trout Discovered in Creek Long Devoid of Fish.” In the southwest corner of Colorado, where abandoned mines and contaminated streams have long been a part of the otherwise magnificent mountain landscape, this is encouraging news—especially for a community that, just two years ago, saw the Animas run yellow.
The San Antonio Mine complex, north of Silverton, Colorado, has been a fixture on the flanks of Red Mountain Pass for over 100 years. While most active mining ceased in the 1940s, the spoil piles and orange drainage from the Kohler Tunnel remained, contaminating streams with high concentrations of copper, lead, cadmium and zinc, and eliminating the fishery resource in Mineral Creek.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, several entities joined together with the hopes of improving…
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