Trout Unlimited has expanded their water conservation efforts by getting actively involved in some of the abandoned mines and tailings runoff in the San juan Basin area. Quite a daunting task with over 30,000 abandoned sites in the western U.S.! TU has added a permanent staffer in Montrose to be actively involved in restoration projects affecting the Uncompahgre, San Miguel and Gunnison River drainages. He is Tanner Banks – a national TU Project Manager that recently moved to Montrose for the northern San Juan Basin Projects – his contact info is [email protected] if you need to contact him.
The Atlas Mine tailings restoration project in the Yankee Boy basin just over the mountain from Telluride was completed in the fall of last year – TU was the lead agency in the design and restoration of over 10 acres of tailings that had high levels of lead, arsenic and a 3.4 pH (normal is 7.0). TU worked with the mine owners, Forest Service and state and national environmental protection agencies for approvals and funding to complete the project. The photo shows the completed encased tailings with a furrowed covering of lime and fertilizer to neutralize any runoff.
In addition to the work on the tailings projects on the Valley Floor, Tanner is leading TU’s big restoration project in Governor Basin which sits above the Yankee Boy site. The design and field work will occur this summer and the actual restoration work of four different mines/tailings will be completed in 2022.
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