Animas River spring runoff being monitored

Friday, April 28, 2017 3:22 PM

River flows will continue to rise throughout the Animas River watershed as the winter snowpack in the high country melts with the onset of warm weather.

During spring, sediments high in heavy metals from the San Juan Mountains are naturally transported downstream and may cause the river to appear cloudy or change color.

San Juan Basin Public Health, San Juan County, United States Geological Survey and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment closely monitor the process every spring and have reinstalled continuous water-quality monitoring technology at five locations in the Animas River, which allows public health officials, emergency managers and the public to view several indicators of river-water quality at any time.

To access the live feeds, visit

Agencies have also taken samples from six locations in the Animas watershed and analyzed them in a laboratory to determine levels of various heavy metals present in river water and sediment. Data indicates that the spring runoff should be normal and the public should not see impacts to human or environmental health during normal recreational use of the Animas River.

However, it is always recommended to take precautions when recreating in the wild:

Wash with soap and water after exposure to untreated water or sediment.Children often ingest water and soil while in and around the river, and should be supervised closely to limit their exposure to untreated water or sediment.Rinse fishing and boating equipment after each use.For more information, visit