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Survey of Animas River fish looks promising

Another survey planned for week of Aug. 22

Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff were back on the Animas River Thursday to monitor the health of the fish and other wildlife, after the release of 3 million gallons of heavy-metal waste that turned the river orange.

After The Denver Post published a picture of a dead fish and Parks and Wildlife staff found a dead sucker and brown trout in the water at Santa Rita Park staff members decided to do a sweep of the river to check on wildlife out of “an abundance of caution,” said Joe Lewandowski, a spokesman for the agency.

They did not find anything concerning Thursday, to Lewandowski’s knowledge.

So far, aquatic wildlife seems to have survived the initial plume of pollution.

The agency placed 108 fingerlings in the Animas River on Aug. 5 and they all survived except for one, which did not die from the pollution.

Another Parks and Wildlife fish survey is planned for the week of Aug. 22.

But measuring the long-term effects of the Gold King Mine accident could be difficult because heavy metals from the Silverton mines have been flowing into the river for years, he said.

To report large fish dieoffs in the Animas to Parks and Wildlife, call 247-0855

mshinn@durangoherald.com

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