by Dale RodebaughHerald Staff Writer
The Southwestern Water Conservation District has contributed $3,600 to help fund the second phase of a study to determine the source of periodic sediment in Lightner Creek.
Initial results of the study point to the Perins Canyon watershed and a stormwater retention basin as possible sources.
For years, water-protection groups and Trout Unlimited have been concerned about the chalky-colored water that from time to time enters the Animas River from Lightner Creek immediately south of the DoubleTree Hotel.
In February 2009, Buck Skillen, a board member of Trout Unlimited, tested water turbidity at the confluence of the waterways. When he poured 60 cubic centimeters of water (the equivalent of two shot glasses or a medical syringe) in a filter, it became clogged by the time 45 centimeters had passed through.
Overall water quality and the effects of sediment on the Animas' gold-medal trout fishery are the major concerns of the coalition of concerned groups that initiated the study last October.