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Office of the Secretary
April 21, 2008
Joan Moody
(202) 208-6416

Secretary of the Interior Kempthorne Presents Animas River Stakeholders Group in Colorado With Cooperative Conservation Award for Earth Day

WASHINGTON, D.C.— At a ceremony in the nation's capital today, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne recognized the Animas River Stakeholders Group in Colorado as one of 21 recipients nationwide of the Department of the Interior's Cooperative Conservation Award.

The 21 awards recognized the work of more than 700 groups and individuals who achieved excellence in conservation through collaboration and partnerships.

"These outstanding partnerships and cooperative efforts represent a fundamental way in which our Department provides stewardship for America with integrity and excellence," Secretary Kempthorne said. "They embody a broad spectrum of conservation work from restoring wetlands, rangelands and mine lands to protecting wildlife, conserving water and fighting invasive species to teaching conservation values to the next generation."

The award to the Animas River Stakeholders Group recognizes the partnership's outstanding contributions to improve water quality and aquatic habitats in the Animas River Watershed in Southwest Colorado. Due to the potential health hazard posed by runoff from mine tailings, the Environmental Protection Agency and state agencies had considered declaring the area a Superfund Site. However, the progress made by the stakeholders group in reducing pollution levels has convinced the agencies not to take formal action as long as the group continues to demonstrate significant results. By leveraging resources, the group has raised more than $35 million for remediation activities and more than $3 million of in-kind volunteer support.

"The group completed approximately 50 mining remediation projects in the Animas River Watershed addressing drainage from mine entries and waste site concerns," the award noted. "Nearby communities have seen benefits from the group's remediation activities, including an overall increase in water quality, the downstream establishment of two species of trout, and signs of resurgence in recreation-based tourism."

The Department of the Interior's Cooperative Conservation Award recognizes conservation achievements resulting from the cooperation and participation of individual landowners, citizen groups, private sector, nongovernmental organizations, and Federal, State, local, and/or tribal governments.

"This is a fitting start to a week of Earth Day activities," the Secretary told the crowd at the main Interior auditorium. "If anyone were to ask me why America is the world leader in conservation of natural resources, I would simply point to the people in this auditorium. You are the spirit and you are the hands of cooperative conservation."

Animas River Stakeholders Group (Colorado) Nominated by the Bureau of Land Management

Ernie Kuhlman
Peter McKay
Terry Rhodes
Chris Smith
Paul Sunderland
Willy Tookey
Animas River Stakeholders Group
Ali Morse
Bill Simon
Bob Litle
B.U.G.S. Consulting
Chester Anderson
Bureau of Land Management
Bill Carey
Karl Ford
Barbara Hite
Stephanie Odell
Paul Peterson
Rob Robinson
Frank Salwerowicz
George Stone
Gary Thrash
Loren Wickstrom
Bureau of Reclamation
Stan Powers
City of Durango
Colorado Center for Environmental Management
Gary Broetzman
Colorado Dept. of Public Health and Environment
Dan Beley
Sarah Johnson
Bob Owen
Greg Parsons
Andrew Ross
Colorado Division of Mining, Reclamation and Safety
Kirsten Brown
Jim Herron
Paul Krabacher
Loretta Pineda
Camille Price
Bruce Stover
Colorado Division of Wildlife
Pat Davies
Barb Horn
Colorado Geological Survey
Matt Sares
Colorado River Watch
Janet O'Leary
Colorado School of Mines
Tom Wildeman
Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
Fort Lewis College
Rob Blair
David Gonzales
Friends of the Animas River
Peter Butler
Mining Remedial Recovery Company
Mountain Studies Institute
Koren Nydick
Old Hundred Mine Tours
Bill Jones
PanEnergy Corporation
John Bowie
Phil Deisch
River Watch Network, Inc.
Sara Staber
Salem Minerals, Inc.
Todd Hennis
San Juan Citizens Alliance
Chuck Wanner
San Juan County Historical Society
Bev Rich
San Juan Resource, Conservation and Development
Silver Wing Co. Inc.
Steve Fearn
Southwestern Water Conservation District
Sunnyside Gold Company/Echo Bay Mines
Bill Goodhardt
Larry Perino
Taxpayers for the Animas River
Michael Black
Town of Silverton
Tusco, Inc.
Jerry Sandell
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Sabrina Forrest
Carol Russell
U.S. Forest Service
Kay Zillich
U.S. Geological Survey
John Besser
Dana Bove
Stan Church
Brad Dalton
Susan Finger
Briant Kimball
Ken Leib
Robert MacDougal
Alisa Mast
Robert Milhous
Tom Nash
Kirk Nordstrom
Bruce Smith
Tracy Sole
Mark Stanton
Phil Verplanck
Kirk Vincent
Paul von Guerard
Katie Walton-Day
Laurie Wirt
Win Wright
Doug Yager

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