Current Projects

Animas River Stakeholders Group

The mission of the Animas River Stakeholders Group(ARSG) is to improve water quality and habitats in the Animas River through a collaborative process designed to encourage participation from all interested parties. Over the past decade this project worked successfully to improve water quality in the Animas River by cleaning up abandoned mine lands that are leaching heavy metals and acidity in to the river.

Participants include mining companies, citizens, environmental organizations, land owners, local governmental entities, and state and federal regulatory and land management agencies. This innovative process holds open meetings allowing all parties to participate at a level suited to their interest and need. The group usually meets on the third Thursday of every month in Silverton, Colorado. Working group meetings, handling specific issues to put before the full group, normally meet immediately preceding the monthly meeting. The group operates through consensus building.

The Upper Animas Watershed has a long history of extensive metal mining as an economic mainstay dating back to the 1870’s. There are hundreds of abandoned and inactive mine sites in the region. Major mining operations ended in 1991. Part of the mining legacy is metal loading to alpine streams and creeks in addition to the natural metal loading already occurring in this mineralized area.

ARSG began in 1994 as an alternative process to determining appropriate water quality standards for the Upper Animas River Basin. In 1995, the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission adopted strict, perhaps achievable water quality standards for certain segments of the Upper Animas, but delayed the effective date to allow ARSG to come up with a plan to improve water quality. The commission tasked ARSG to locate and evaluate sources of metals contamination, determine potential improvement and prioritize sites for remediation in order to recommend achievable water quality standards and use classifications.

In addition, U.S. EPA was contemplating a Superfund designation of whole Upper Basin. Most of the Stakeholders thought that such a designation would lead to lots of litigation, reduced property values, distrust, and resources going to attorneys and consultants as opposed to on the ground projects that might improve water quality.
The Stakeholders process involves the extensive collection, consolidation, and analysis of chemical, physical and biological components necessary to assess the impacts of contamination on aquatic life and habitat throughout the basin. Using a watershed approach, ARSG has developed a remediation plan, recommended feasible water quality standards (which were adopted in 2001) and implemented remediation projects throughout the Upper Animas River Basin.

For more information contact Coordinator, Peter Butler (970) 259 0986. Please visit the ARSG website at
and for more information about the Good Samaritan Legislation Good Samaritan Info

Animas Watershed Partnership

The Animas Watershed Partnership(AWP) brings local interests together to discuss and find ways to improve water quality in the lower Animas River Basin. The mission of the AWP is to protect and improve the quality of water resources in the Animas Watershed. The full AWP is a diverse, grassroots group of individuals from Colorado, New Mexico, the Southern Ute Tribe, and governmental agency representatives – in short, anyone interested in collaborating across boundaries toward the protection and improvement of water resources in the Animas Watershed.

The AWP’s current projects include: Landowner Partner Projects, Microbial Source Tracking, Lightner Creek Initiative, 3 Year Action Plan, Outreach, and Project Development. Please visit the AWP’s website at for more information.

Biscuit Boy Productions

Videographer Tom Schallaci, Biscuit Boy Productions produces informative, educational videos covering a variety of topics including Silver Ledge Mine Cleaunp 2010 and the Update 2014

Cloudy Ridge Productions

Cloudy Ridge Productions, a Durango, Colorado based non-profit production company, creates unique, timely and engaging films and documentaries to show how important the ancient civilizations of the southwestern United States are and that it is still possible to protect what little of this early culture is left. Cloudy Ridge Production uses time-lapse photography, aerial cinematography, and interviews with people intimately involved in trying to save these disappearing places to convey a message of preservation. A message that will show both the positive and negative aspects of our present civilization’s relationship with this ancient culture and why it’s in our best interest to protect what is left of these places. The documentaries and video clips that we produce will also encourage people to help save these important places by respecting them and sharing in the stewardship of our cultural history. Learn about Cloudy Ridge’s newest production about Navajo Weavers Beauty from Tradition

Colorado Water Officials Association District 7

The mission of the Colorado Water Officials Association is to benefit its members by providing an organization through which water resource personnel within the Division of Water Resources and the Colorado Water Conservation Board can educate the State’s citizens as to the importance of water rights administration and management, as well as to inform the General Assembly and local governments and organizations about important water issues, and to further professional development of its members.

Diversifying Revenue with Value Added Production and Marketing

Small vegetable and fruit farmers in the 4-Corners region have scaled up and expanded high tunnel production to meet the increasing demand from Southwest Farm Fresh distribution cooperative; wholesale markets serving tourism; increased Farmer’s Market attendance and a Farm to School aggregate center. Along with this increase in production comes surpluses that occur when your crop plan must meet larger production targets.
Value added production (VAP) can diversify income if the producer has the necessary skills to navigate financial, food safety and marketing issues. This project will address regulatory requirements, budgets, product development, packaging, labeling and advertising for VAP by hosting two winter seminars (50). Each will be followed by the offering of required Cottage Food Bill certification in local communities (25) and market research assistance (8). A VAP resource guide will be developed including consumer information.
Specialized skills like product development and production are be more difficult for a grower to obtain We’ll host listening sessions (15) to engage community businesses that could convert local product to value added items. Along with increased production comes increased labor demands so listening sessions (15) will address feasibility of labor cooperative and local processing that could serve both fruit and vegetable production.

Durango Business Association

Business networking group of local professionals. For information about membership please contact the San Juan RC&D at 970 382-9371 or

D.C. Rat Rod Nationalz

D.C. Rat Rod Nationalz hosts an Annual Car Auction and Show. The Car Show is August 14-15, 2015 in Dove Creek, Colorado. All proceeds from this event benefit a local non-profit. For more information please contact the San Juan RC&D at 970 382-9371 or

Durango Mountain Camp for Dyslexic Kids

Durango Mountain Camp provides extensive one-on-one Orton-Gillingham based language training for professionally diagnosed dyslexic youngsters ages 11-17 (day campers 8-13).

DMC’s highly personalized academic program builds a strong language foundation which allows students greater success when they return home to their normal academic environment. Many of these youngsters will progress through several grade levels in their language skills during the 5-week summer session. Durango Mountain Camp also provides an outstanding summer experience through an exciting selection of uncommon outdoor pursuits. These challenging activities help develop creativity, enhance self-esteem, foster individual strengths and generate a great deal of enthusiasm. Greater self-confidence, gained through successful participation in these outdoor pursuits, often translates to a more positive attitude, which can last long after campers leave Durango Mountain Camp.

First Nations Pollinator Project

The First Nations Project is a non-profit that supports the people, environments, and economies of indigenous groups, tribes, and nations. In August of 2014, we began gifting hives to Navajo people living on the reservation. We trained them in beekeeping, honey and wax production, and placement and maintenance of pollinators in farming, grassland, pastoral, mountainous, and riparian environments. Over 250 Navajo participated in a 10,000 square mile area, giving us excellent data on pollinators’ ability to increase crop production, stabilize soils, and improve the vitality of livestock and other animals.

Good Dirt Radio

Good Dirt Radio envisions a world where empowered citizen action nurtures a healthy global environment. They dig up and share inspiring stories told by people addressing environmental challenges affecting life on Earth. Through radio and web-based media they share positive, beneficial ideas and actions that individuals, families, businesses and communities can embrace. GDR currently plays primarily across the Southwestern US and is expanding to a growing, national audience with Weekly Wakeup Call, a series of spots on attainable examples of positive environmental solutions that benefit local ecosystems of the world.

The Herb Hut Free Clinic

The Herb Hut Free Clinic is a non-profit project that offers free herbal medicine to underserved people in La Plata County, CO. This rural county is home to many people who struggle with food insecurity, and many with no health insurance. This is the demographic the Herb Hut works to serve.
The Herb Hut clinic on wheels travels from town to town, offering free consultations and herbs at soup kitchens, community centers, and other non-profits. Each clinic serves about four people. The Herb Hut reaches rural, homeless, immigrant, elderly, disabled, and addicted communities.
Herbalism is increasingly popular, but our nation’s healthcare system makes it inaccessible to people who can’t pay out of pocket. The Herb Hut believes that healthcare and plant medicine are for everyone who wants them, and works to remedy this situation.The Herb Hut is funded by the generosity of grants, corporate sponsorships, and individuals like you. Donate to make this possible!

La Plata County Independent Youth Performing Arts

The mission of LPCIYPA is to actively engage in the growth and development of youth through the use of music and the performing/pageantry arts.

Montezuma Orchard Restoration Project

Montezuma Orchard Restoration Project (MORP) is working to preserve our fruit- growing heritage and restore an orchard culture and economy to our region. MORP envisions southwestern Colorado being renowned for an orchard culture and economy based on the legendary quality of Montezuma Valley Fruits.

La Plata County Thrive Living Wage Coalition

Thrive! is a coalition of citizens in La Plata County, Colorado who care about the long-term economic health and social well-being of our community. Their mission is to enhance the quality of life in La Plata County through fair and just wages for all. They envision La Plata County as a place where all workers are paid a living wage, enable individuals, families and the community to thrive. Please visit their website at La Plata County Thrive.

Old Fort Market Garden Cooperative

Market Garden Incubator participants formed the Old Fort Market Garden Cooperative to allow them to purchase general and product liability insurance as a group. The San Juan RC&D Council assists this project by providing fiscal agency.

Phase 3, SW Basin Roundtable’s Implementation Plan

This project is conducting outreach efforts advancing the implementation of the Colorado’s Water Plan and Basin Implementation Plan at sub-basin and statewide levels; and to provide technical and process support for implementation of the Colorado’s Water Plan and Basin Implementation and related IPPs pertaining to priority projects as identified by the Southwest Basin Roundtable. More specifically the purpose of this effort is to: conduct workshops and present at local meetings that have an interest in water.

Pine River Watershed Group

The Pine River Watershed Group is a group of volunteers who periodically test the water in the Vallecito Reservoir providing valuable information about water quality and sources of pollution.

Reach Out

Reach Out operates a positive music event in the Four Corners area. The Reach Out Music Fest is in it’s 6th year. Read more at

San Juan Basin Recycling Association

To educate school children, residents and businesses in the communities throughout our region about new and existing recycling programs, as well as the benefits of these programs.

Southwest Wetland Focus Area Committee

The Southwest Wetland Focus Area Committee works with partners to restore, enhance, and protect wetlands, riparian areas, and associated uplands and to promote the values of functional resilient wetlands and riparian areas through education and outreach.

Weather Modification Project

The San Juan Mountains Weather Modification Project is a long running project operates cloud seeding generators throughout the region and is funded by local, state and downstream entities. This program is a partnership between Southwestern Water Conservation District, Colorado Water Conservation Board and Western Weather Consultants. This program seeds wintertime snow storms to increase snowfall and improve snowpack. To learn more about cloud seeding visit Cloud Seeding

Veterans Homestead Project

The Veterans Homestead Project provides agricultural training for sustainable living for American combat veterans.

Past Projects

Alternative Direct Marketing for Small Farmers in SW Colorado

Consumers have long known that locally grown produce tastes better. It is picked just hours before delivery Local produce is more nutritious. Local food builds community and supports local farmers. Alternative Direct Marketing helps small to mid-sized producers access the increased demand for locally grown food by teaching them how to expand beyond traditional markets into new arenas; restaurants, retail outlets and schools. Producers learn price, production and financial risks associated with pursuing those alternative direct markets. The project teaches the farmers to manage risk through marketing plans and strategies, direct marketing, and business and strategic planning. An advocate team provides individual consultation opportunities to assist with direct sales skills, production planning and record keeping. For more information about this project, please contact the San Juan RC & D at or 970 382-9371.

La Plata County Mounted Patrol

The LPCMP was formed by a group of dedicated volunteers in La Plata County Colorado who offer the La Plata County Office of Emergency Management an extra pool of resources to tap when needed.With government agencies hard pressed to provide needed services these days, the Mounties of the LPCMP are available to fill any role requested by this agency as well as meeting the needs of other agencies and non-profit groups in need of assistance. As an all volunteer citizens group, the LPCMP asks no payment for these services and relies on community donations for it’s funding. All equipment used is owned by the individual Mounties unless purchased by LPCMP.
Community involvement is the hallmark of our members who have, each, a proven track record of community service and integrity. The LPCMP is a Non-Partisan, Non-Profit Organization.

Permaculture Provision Project

The Curry Family at Hannaniah’s Rest Ranch in Cortez, CO works to create provision for family and friends by using what has been given to them. They are successfully greening the desert by incorporating principles of permaculture on their 80 acres of high desert. Keep up to date with ongoing projects, which change weekly, depending on the changes in weather and material availability! They always have a lot going on, especially with planting and animal projects, so feel free to read up on what’s new at Permaculture Provision Project.

San Juan Public Lands Noxious Weeds Project

An award-winning project that mapped, inventories and treated noxious weeds in the 5 county area of Southwestern Colorado. A partnership between San Juan RC&D, USFS and County Weed Boards.

Upper San Juan Mixed Conifer Working Group

Upper San Juan Mixed Conifer Working Group To improve the health of the mixed conifer zone in Southwest Colorado.

River Education Trailer

water education mobile display utilized by local schools and water festivals.

Water Wise

brings water conservation information and materials (low flow shower heads, sink aerators, toilet leak detectors) to over 125 fifth grade students throughout our area each year.

River Protection Workgroup

Involving the public in protecting the natural values of selected streams while allowing water development to continue.   The River Protection Workgroup is a project that is forming local workgroups on five (5) selected river/ stream segments (Animas River, Piedra River, Hermosa Creek, Upper San Juan- East and West Forks and Vallecito Creek/Pine River). The purpose is to engage local stakeholders from many sectors in defining strategies for the protection of important values– human, social, ecological and economic. In some cases, the local workgroups take a watershed approach. Once the workgroups conclude in 2012, a “Regional Discussion” will occur to define broad, regional strategies for protection of values while allowing suitable water development to continue. All the meeting minutes, workgroups’ reports, etc. are all on the website along with a process model handout, information sheets on each river/streams studied were found to be suitable (or in some cases eligible) for Wild and Scenic River status by the San Juan Public Lands Center in its 2007 Draft Land Management Plan (USFS/BLM). Please contact: Marsha Porter-Norton, P.O. Box 4506, Durango, CO 81301, 970-247-8306, or email

Montezuma Climate Action Network

To utilize education and collaboration to engage the entire Montezuma community in a climate action plan that will result in a cumulative greenhouse gas reduction of 20% by 2015 and ensure a sustainable, secure, future for ourselves and future generations.

Resource Recovery Park 

A resource recovery (RR) park is a new development in recycling. In its broadest sense, it is the colocation of reuse, recycling, compost processing, manufacturing, and retail businesses in a central facility.

Vallecito Service League 

Created an ADA compliant trail system at Vallecito Lake.

Four Corners Film Office

The mission of the Four Corners Film Office is to increase jobs and income from film production in the Four Corners Region, by serving as a liaison to the film, television and media industries.

Sisters of the Western Slope

A group of western sisters who collaborate in acts of love and solidarity.