In May of 2018 - shortly after the conclusion of the Citizen Superfund Workgroup – citizens of the watershed began formally discussing the possible formation of a CAG. Recognizing a CAG’s value, a CAG formation committee was developed and included the watershed groups who initiated the Citizen Superfund Workgroup with a couple of additions. All of the formation committee’s members have wide-ranging experience with Animas River issues, particularly water quality. And, all have extensive contacts throughout the local community with which they can share information.
The members of the CAG Formation Committee:
- Peter Butler, Ph.D. – Coordinator – Animas River Stakeholders Group
- Ty Churchwell – Animas Campaign Coordinator – Trout Unlimited
- Shannon Manfredi, MA – Facilitator – Animas River Community Forum
- Marcel Gaztambide – Animas Riverkeeper – San Juan Citizens Alliance
- Anthony Edwards, J.D. – Community Liaison – San Juan County and Town of Silverton
The formation committee developed this CAG website and began soliciting applications from the watershed in December of 2018. The focus of solicitations was to people in the watershed who might have an interest in being considered for a term on the CAG, including applications from the formation committee members themselves. Solicitations occurred via paid advertisements in regional newspapers, feature news stories, social media posts, the EPA Bonita Peak website and through direct email outreach from numerous local non-profit organizations and collaborative watershed groups.
Additionally, the CAG formation committee felt it important to offer the local governmental entities direct representation on the CAG via a selected liaison. Therefore, the CAG applications were forwarded to the four local governments in the Colorado portion of the watershed – San Juan County (CO), Town of Silverton, La Plata County and the City of Durango. Each of these entities picked one person within their respective jurisdictions to be a CAG member. The Southern Ute Tribe declined direct representation on the CAG, deciding instead to simply monitor the activities of the CAG. After the four governmental entities selected their liaisons, the CAG formation committee selected the remainder of the CAG membership. Although there is no set limit to the size of a CAG, the formation committee and the four local governmental entities determined up-front that a desired number of members should be about fifteen (15). It was recognized that too many more than that could become unwieldy.
Recognizing that the CAG should reflect a diversity and balance of interests, the formation committee made it a point to select and appoint at least one person with experience in:
Agriculture – Mining – Mine Remediation – Recreation – Environment – Science – Local Government – Local business – Public Health
Additionally, the formation committee ensured there was good geographic representation from different parts of the Animas River watershed. CAG meetings will be open to the public, so meeting participation is not limited to only selected CAG members. Community members are encouraged to participate.
Generally, the term of appointments to the CAG will be three years with one-third of the appointments expiring each year. The members of the CAG will vote on appointments or re-appointments after the initial formation, except for the four members appointed by the local governmental jurisdictions.
Operational bylaws, such as developing a steering or executive committee, determining a quorum for meetings, taking actions (through vote or consensus), etc. will be developed by the CAG immediately upon formation. CAG meetings will be advertised and open to the public, and meeting locations will alternate between Silverton and Durango, with at least one meeting per year to be held in Farmington, NM.