Though this article shared some important information about the problem of heavy metals in the local watershed, the photo that appeared with the article was inaccurately described as the Uncompahgre River.In fact, it was a photo of Red Mountain Creek, an upstream tributary of the Uncompahgre that is not impacted by the Ouray Hyrdropower Dam flush, discussed in the article. The color that appears on the rocks and in the water in the photo was much brighter and dissimilar to the actual discoloration seen in the Uncompahgre River below the hydropower dam at that time. To see the actual photos of the river, see the original E-Alert from UWP.
Durango Herald article excerpt:
…The Uncompahgre Watershed Partnership, which monitors river events, pointed out that the river is not used as a residential water supply. Fish and insect populations were long damaged by high heavy-metal levels.
Still, it is unclear how the increased concentrations during flushing events affect the remaining aquatic life and recreational river users. A study from 2001 showed a jump in lead by 30 times and iron by 40 times.
“The resulting orange flow is just a highly visible symptom of a much larger problem – the multitude of abandoned mines upstream,” said the Uncompahgre Watershed Partnership in a recent newsletter.
Read the full article: The Durango Herald 10_18_2015
Also see the Online Durango Herald Article