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Caring for our water.
Highlights of the San Juan National Forest working with the community to protect and manage our precious water:
Some damaged streams are home to fish populations considered important due to…. Adding large pieces of wood and boulders to streams, and fixing eroding stream banks, can make degraded streams more like they once were while enhancing the habitat fish need to survive. (Example case studies Blanco River and others)
The watersheds on the San Juan National Forest supply drinking water for the public. Unfortunately, in some places the water has been polluted. In the upper Animas watershed, decades of historic gold and silver mining have resulted in some rivers unusable for drinking. Some pollution make water impossible for fish and aquatic creatures to live in. The Animas River Stakeholder Group, along with the Forest Service, EPA, and BLM are working to clean up polluted mine areas, reduce the acid drainage, and stop pollution from getting into streams. (Example case studies)
Some rivers, located in very remote places, offer streams in a more natural and pristine condition. For example, streams within the South San Juan Wilderness, Lizard Head Wilderness, and the Weminuche Wilderness are managed “for preservation and protection in their natural condition...” as required by the Wilderness Act. On the San Juan National Forest, outside of wilderness areas, management is challenged to balance wild and free-flowing rivers with healthy aquatic ecosystems while providing human use such as reservoirs, hydropower, and diversion ditches. (Examples of large water development projects on SJNF)