@RockiesProject and @EcoFlight1 survey #GoldKingMine and #AnimasRiver

On April 7,  2016, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed adding the “Bonita Peak Mining District” to the National Priorities List, making it eligible for Superfund. Forty-eight mine portals and tailings piles are “under consideration” to be included. The Gold King Mine will almost certainly be on the final list, as will the nearby American Tunnel. The Mayflower Mill #4 tailings repository, just outside Silverton, is another likely candidate, given that it appears to be leaching large quantities of metals into the Animas River. What Superfund will entail for the area beyond that, and when the actual cleanup will begin, remains unclear. Eric Baker
On April 7, 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed adding the “Bonita Peak Mining District” to the National Priorities List, making it eligible for Superfund. Forty-eight mine portals and tailings piles are “under consideration” to be included. The Gold King Mine will almost certainly be on the final list, as will the nearby American Tunnel. The Mayflower Mill #4 tailings repository, just outside Silverton, is another likely candidate, given that it appears to be leaching large quantities of metals into the Animas River. What Superfund will entail for the area beyond that, and when the actual cleanup will begin, remains unclear.
Eric Baker

From The Durango Herald (Jessica Pace):

An annual Colorado College project focusing on issues affecting the Rocky Mountain West is turning its spotlight on the governance of Western water, including the Animas River.

On Monday morning, several student researchers and staff with the State of the Rockies Project took a flight from Durango to survey from above the Gladstone area and Gold King Mine, just north of Silverton…

Below the Gold King, passengers could see another pock in the mountainside – a temporary treatment facility catching drainage from the mine.

“I was struck by the scale of it,” said Emelie Frojen, a Colorado College senior. “It’s amazing how small one mine is compared to the scale of the damage.”

The group will meet this week with officials to learn about the Animas-La Plata Project and the U.S. Forest Service’s plans for managing the Hermosa Creek area, and will attend an Animas River Stakeholders Group meeting.

“We try to make complex issues more digestible,” Brendan Boepple, assistant project director, said of the State of the Rockies Project, which produces an annual report on its focus of study.

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