Animas River Long Term Monitoring
Our agency has been collaborating with the New Mexico Environment Department on a hydro-geology study along the Animas River to better understand the groundwater and surface water interactions. This research initiated in response to the Gold King Mine spill (August 2015), as part of a long term monitoring effort. The role of the NM Bureau of Geology has been to examine the hydrologic connections between groundwater and the Animas River, the irrigation ditches, and the private wells. We have found that the river is largely a “gaining” river, where groundwater moves into the river. However, in winter and early spring, a few locations along the river have the potential to change to a “losing” river (where river water seeps into the groundwater system). After repeated groundwater quality sampling, we have found that there is currently no indication of Gold King Mine water in the groundwater along the Animas River in New Mexico. For safe measure, we recommend that groundwater quality monitoring should continue at least annually in many of the groundwater wells.
Funded by the New Mexico Environment Department, Aquifer Mapping Program and the Bureau of Geology.
For more information, please contact:
Stacy Timmons, Hydrogeologist / Aquifer Mapping Program Manager