Making the Animas more playful

Local boaters wanting to be the first on the block to try out the city’s newest play hole will have to be patient. Upon reviewing comments on its conceptual plan, the Animas River Task Force will seek final adoption from the city as well as a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. According to Kara Hellige, chief of the Corps’ Durango office, the permitting process takes about 120 days, which includes a 30-day comment period and typically an environmental assessment. If there is a finding of significant impacts, then the corps requires a more stringent, and time-consuming, environmental impact study, she said.

In addition, any work on the river would have to be done during times of low flow that do not conflict with trout-spawning season. The task force has identified the following projects, in descending order of importance:

• Continued maintenance of Whitewater Park

• Feature creation using existing material at Little Smelter, below Highway 160 West bridge

• Low-flow passage at 29th Street

• Low-flow passage at rock garden, above Sawmill

• Berm construction and eddy improvement at Santa

Rita hole

• Feature creation using existing material at High Bridge

• Low-flow passage behind Durango Mall

• Bank restoration and feature creation using existing material at Schneider Park

• Feature creation using existing material at fish hatchery area

• Creation of wing on river right at Sawmill to funnel water to center of channel

– Missy Votel