by Dale Rodebaugh
Herald Staff Writer
The quality of a community’s waterways reflects its dedication to the environment, says Buck Skillen, an inveterate fly-fisherman and board member of Trout Unlimited who keeps track of water quality for the Colorado Division of Wildlife.
Of particular interest to Skillen is the stretch of the Animas River from its confluence with Lightner Creek near the Durango Dog Park to the Rivera Crossing Bridge behind Home Depot. Since 1997, the division has designated that reach of the Animas as a gold-medal trout fishery – its highest rating.
But silt entering the Animas at Lightner Creek causes turbidity, which can compromise the quality of the gold-medal waters.
“The silt affects the fishability of the reach and the overall river experience,” Skillen said. “Further, it reflects negatively on our community’s stewardship of the river.”