Office of External Affairs
Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Mountain-Prairie Region
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

January 7, 2010   

                                                                               

Contact:  Laura Archuleta 719-655-6121 (cell 719-850-1196)

 

Public Information Meeting Regarding Upper Arkansas River Restoration Plan to be Held in Leadville, Colorado

 

Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment Available for Public Comment Until February 27

                                                                                        

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will host a public meeting on January 13, 2010 in Leadville, Colorado to provide information to the public regarding the Upper Arkansas River Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment. 

 

The meeting will be held on January 13 at 6:30 p.m. at the National Mining Museum Hall of Fame Auditorium, 120 W. 9th Street (enter the auditorium from the back of the Hall of Fame Building on 10th Street).

 

The draft restoration plan and environmental assessment document will be available for public comment for 45 days beginning on the 13th.  Please send your comments to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services Saguache Field Office, 46525 Highway 114
Saguache, CO 81149.

The document is available on the Service’s web site at;

 http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/nrda/LeadvilleColo/CaliforniaGulch.htm or by contacting Laura Archuleta, Contaminants Specialist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, phone 719-655-6121, fax 719-655-2502.

 

The Leadville Mining District (California Gulch) located on the Upper Arkansas River is designated as a Superfund Site by the Environmental Protection Agency.  The area has hundreds of abandoned mines, many miles of underground tunnels and shafts, large waste rock and tailings deposits and numerous processing facilities (some 75 mills and 44 smelters).  Waste products including mill tailings, slag, and dust were frequently placed in piles or tailings ponds; often in or adjacent to flood plain locations.  Over 2,000 waste rock piles cover approximately 627 acres.  Many of these exposed dumps remain as metal sources to the Arkansas River and other Basin tributaries.  

 

The Arkansas River is used for recreation, irrigation of agricultural and range lands, and municipal drinking water.  Irrigation of rangeland and agricultural land with high metal content water may contribute to elevated levels of metals in animals and plants.  High metals concentrations along riverbanks can reduce or eliminate riverside vegetation, which increases erosion potential.  High metals concentrations in stream water can cause degradation of fish habitat, recreational areas, and agricultural land.  The Arkansas River seasonally exceeds state aquatic life standards for several metals including zinc, lead, cadmium, and copper.  

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

 

-FWS-