OSMRE / VISTA Team Projects

Animas Watershed Partnership

Rachel Hoffman

OSMRE / VISTA: Rachel Hoffman
Supervisor: Ann Oliver
Address: 701 Camino del Rio, Durango, Colorado 81301
County: La Plata
Voice Telephone: 970-903-9361
Email: healthyanimas.awp@gmail.com
Web site: www.animaswatershedpartnership.org
Congressional District: 3rd
Bureau: Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE)


The Animas Watershed Partnership’s (AWP) mission: “to protect and improve the quality of water health in the Animas Watershed. To benefit the Animas River, now and in the future. Our values inspire us to create a community-based collaborative process involving all stakeholders in which we operate by consensus, use all available data sources, and make informed decisions based on sound science.”

About the Surrounding Community

La Plata County is within the Durango Coalfield and water quality is an issue in the 1357 square mile Animas Watershed. Segments of the Animas River are on the 303(d) list of impaired waters for their high levels of heavy metals, temperature, nitrogen, phosphorus, E. coli bacteria, turbidity, and sedimentation. Some areas of Animas headwaters are devoid of fish and other aquatic life, while other areas are habitats to four native fish species of conservation concern: roundtail chub, flannelmouth sucker, bluehead sucker, and cutthroat trout. Poor water quality in the Animas River is a cause for concern for community health, recreation, and economic well-being. Of the residents served by the Animas Watershed Partnership, 12.3% live below the national poverty level.

Project Overview

The OSMRE/VISTA improves long-term sustainable water quality in the Animas River critical to the local economy by engaging local community members and stakeholders in planning for and developing water quality improvement efforts in the Animas River and its tributaries. The Animas Watershed Partnership developed a volunteer water sampling program to share the data on a network that is public to watershed groups and the community. The OSMRE/VISTA also develops an Outreach Plan to engage teachers and economically disadvantaged children in meetings to identify potential problem areas, prioritize improvements, and develop project options. A partnership with Southwest Conservation Corps educates High School Work Crews on the science of river health and celebrates the role the Animas River plays in sustaining the health and economic well-being of local communities.

Sponsors and Partners

Southwest Conservation Corps

San Juan Watershed Group

San Juan Soil and Water Conservation District

Colorado River Watch

National Young Farmers Coalition

Fort Lewis College Public Health Program

Durango Nature Studies

Trout Unlimited Five Rivers Chapter

The Southern Ute Water Quality Program

San Juan Resource Conservation & Development Council