September 14, 2016--Grass-roots cleanups continue in Silverton mining district (Durango Herald)

The Environmental Protection Agency may have declared Superfund status for 48 mining-related sites around Silverton, but that hasn’t stopped grass-roots efforts that have worked for more than two decades to improve water quality in the Animas River watershed. On Monday, a joint project between the Bureau of Land Management, the town of Silverton and volunteers from around the area hauled away the last metal debris around the Lackawanna Mill, a site just north of Silverton not included in the EPA’s Bonita Peak Mining District Superfund designation. “While there’s still talk about how to deal with the big things, we’re looking around to see what are the little projects we can do that can have some punch,” said Lisa Richardson, a recreation technician for BLM. The remediation of the Lackawanna Mill Site began in 1996 when crews removed piles of mine tailings that were dumped beside the Animas River when the mill operated from 1928 until it shut down sometime in the 1960s. “The river was eroding into the tailings,” said Peter Butler, a coordinator with the Animas River Stakeholders Group. “Because it was right on the banks of the Animas it justified doing that.” As a result, an area that once leached heavy metals into the Animas River is now a thriving wetland, home to several beaver ponds and prime habitat for riparian and avian life. To veiw the ful article visit the Durango Herald.