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Third annual Animas, San Juan watershed conference set for June 19-22 in Farmington

FARMINGTON – The third annual conference on environmental conditions of the Animas and San Juan watershed will be June 19-22 at the San Juan College Henderson Fine Arts Center, 4601 College Blvd. in Farmington.


River scene
Three years after the Gold King Mine spill polluted the Animas and San Juan rivers in the Four Corners area, a conference reporting the environmental conditions of the rivers will be held on June 19-22 at the San Juan College in Farmington. (NMSU photo)

The New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute, housed at New Mexico State University, will host the conference that will include related water quality topics in the Animas and San Juan rivers watersheds.

“The conference planning committee is eager to build on the success of the last two conferences in bringing together researchers and the general public to meet, learn from and share the results of ongoing research associated with the August 2015 Gold King Mine spill, as well as other mine waste issues,” said Sam Fernald, NMWRRI director. An accidental spill of contaminated water from the Gold King Mine, located near Silverton, Colorado, polluted the Animas and San Juan rivers.

NMWRRI continues to support the activities outlined in the Gold King Mine Water Spill Long Term Monitoring Plan, prepared by New Mexico’s Long Term Impact Team in 2016.

“Much has transpired over the past two years, and this conference will provide an update of the increased understanding of the spill, as well as the transition to long-term monitoring,” Fernald said.

The conference’s technical program on Wednesday and Thursday, June 20-21, will include oral and poster presentations at Henderson Fine Arts Center, San Juan College.

Registration is $50. Student participant registration is $25. Students with an accepted abstract are free. Wednesday and Thursday registration includes lunch. Exhibit fee is $125 for commercial and $75 for government agencies. Fee includes one registration with lunch. Register online at https://animas.nmwrri.nmsu.edu/2018/register/ .

This year’s conference will include two events before and after the technical program.

On Tuesday, June 19, a pre-conference field trip will give participants a geologic tour of the Silverton area and a guided mine tour. The limited tour space has been filled.

On Friday, June 22, there will be a Community Teach-In at the Navajo Shiprock Chapter House from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The free event will include talks by regional scientists on the Gold King Mine monitoring and research. Lunch will be provided. Participants are asked to call 505-652-4563 to RSVP.

Sponsors of the conference are NM WRRI, NMSU, University of New Mexico, New Mexico Tech, New Mexico Environmental Department, New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, San Juan Soil & Water Conservation District, Shiprock Chapter Government, San Juan County, City of Farmington, City of Aztec and San Juan Watershed Group.