Trout Unlimited praises Superfund solution for Animas River

TU Press Release

Feb. 22, 2016



Ty Churchwell,, cell: 970-903-3010

Buck Skillen,, 970-759-2726

Randy Scholfield, TU communications,, 720-375-3961

Trout Unlimited praises Superfund solution for Animas watershed

(Durango, Colo.)Colorado Trout Unlimited leaders today praised Silverton and county officials approval of a proposed Superfund listing in San Juan County to address the Aug. 5, 2015 Gold King mine spill and ongoing pollution caused by historic area hardrock mines, which for decades have leached toxic heavy metals into the Animas watershed, degrading water quality and damaging the health of the Animas Gold Medal trout habitat. The Superfund designation request identifies 48 mines in the Silverton area that would be cleaned up under the designated National Priority Listing. Trout Unlimited released statements from local TU leaders in response to the vote:

Ty Churchwell, San Juan Mountain Coordinator for Trout Unlimited:

This is a landmark day not only for the health of the Animas River and its Gold Medal trout fishery but also for the future of communities in southwest Colorado. We all depend on clean water. A healthy Animas watershed means healthy trout populations and habitat, which ensures the health of our areas vital recreation-based economy.

This is a victory for collaboration and consensus-building. After years of debate and disagreements, our local communities and diverse stakeholders have finally come together to agree on what the solution to hardrock mine pollution in the Animas will look like. Whats exciting is that the proposed EPA Superfund designation covers every major polluting mine in the headwaters of the Animas watershedthis solution is comprehensive in scope and impact. We have not yet seen the final details of the proposal, but if done right, with sufficient collaboration, resources and follow-through, a Superfund designation could finally solve the Animas chronic mine pollution problem and restore the Animas watershed to its full health and potential.

Buck Skillen, president, Five Rivers Chapter, Trout Unlimited:

Trout Unlimiteds local Five Rivers Chapter and its volunteers have spent countless hours improving and protecting the habitat of the Animas River watershed. For many years, though, our conservation efforts have been shadowed by the constant threat of toxic mine runoff. The Gold King spill only underscored the ongoing pollution that leaches into the Animas watershed, day in and day out.

Were thrilled that the proposed Superfund designation will address this chronic problem at its source. Its a new day for the Animas, and for our cherished Gold Medal waters of the Animas. Anglers and sportsmen are going to be celebrating.


Trout Unlimited is a non-profit organization with 147,000 members nationwide dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North Americas coldwater fisheries and their watersheds. Colorado Trout Unlimited has 24 chapters and more than 10,000 members in the state.