Click the link to read the article on The Durango Telegraph website (Jonathan Romeo). Here’s an excerpt:
For years, several nonprofits, government agencies, citizens and other stakeholders have spearheaded attempts to improve the Animas River. But now, it appears these stakeholders are interested in merging their respective efforts under an SMP, which could better organize projects and increase opportunities for grant funding.
“I think we could be entering a new phase of the Animas River,” Laura Spann, programs coordinator with Southwestern Water Conservation District, said. “(An SMP) might be a way to build a broader vision with all the groups.”
Stakeholders are in the very early stages, just gauging whether there’s public interest to develop an SMP for the Animas. In other parts of the state, the plans have been used to improve fish habitat, increase river access and restore riparian areas.
“These plans are specifically designed to look at the needs of a river basin, or part of a river basin, as it relates to recreational and environmental needs,” Warren Rider, coordinator of the Animas Watershed Partnership, which is leading the SMP process, said. “About a year ago, we started to think now could be a good time.”
After organizers complete interviews with stakeholders, they’ll draft a “scope of work” document that outlines what the SMP could cover. From there, it’ll depend if there’s enough community support for the plan to progress into actual work on the ground. While a lot remains to be determined when it comes to the Animas River’s SMP, one thing is clear: creating one may have incredible benefits, especially as climate change and drought take their toll on environmental conditions.