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KSJD Local Newscast - April 19, 2024

The Mancos Conservation District is opposing a proposal for exploratory mineral drilling in the La Plata Mountains because of concerns about possible effects on the Mancos watershed and river. The district’s board voted unanimously on April 9 to oppose a drilling and Substitute Water Supply Plan put forth by Metallic Minerals, a Canada-based group of companies. Under the proposal, the water needed for drilling in search of minerals such as silver, gold, and copper would be taken from the East Mancos River, with water for augmentation being pulled from the Animas River or other outside sources. The executive director of the Mancos Conservation District, Danny Margoles, told KSJD, “We have concerns about moving water from one basin to the next.” Those concerns include the possible introduction of non-native species such as brown trout and white suckers into the Mancos River, where they are not now present, as well as aquatic nuisance species and whirling disease. Margoles said the district sent a letter of opposition to the Colorado Division of Water Resources and is awaiting their decision. In the future, the district hopes to host a community conversation about mining in general where stakeholders can express their thoughts.

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Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal, and was the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.