Landowners, fishermen, conservationists, and other stakeholders are watching the Animas River following a large release of mine water in Colorado.
On August 5, 2015, Environmental Protection Agency workers were conducting an investigation of the Gold King Mine when loose material gave way, spilling the water stored behind the collapsed material into Cement Creek, a tributary of the Animas River.
The intent of the investigation was to assess the on-going water releases from the mine and to treat mine water and to assess the feasibility of further mine remediation.
The initial EPA estimate of the size of the spill was one million gallons.
On Saturday, August 8, the president of the Navajo Nation declared a State of Emergency for the San Juan River valley.
On August 9, the City of Durango and La Plata County declared a state of emergency in their jurisdictions due to the contamination of the Animas River.
The declaration was made after consultation with the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, Town of Silverton, San Juan Basin Health Department, San Juan County, Colorado, and San Juan County, New Mexico in response to the release of waste water from the Gold King Mine in San Juan County, Colorado.
Also on August 9, EPA officials revised the Gold King Mine discharge estimate to 3 million gallons.
The Colorado Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office has been monitoring the effects of the spill on terrestrial and aquatic wildlife since the incident began.
The Animas River, a tributary of the San Juan River, flows through parts of Colorado and New Mexico.