I learned a few details about A/LP this passt Saturday while running the river with someone who knows a things or two about the project. While I can't speak to the issue on the what impact the dam will have, I can say that the wildlife will adjust, and in fact even thrive around the manmade lake to some point or another.
In so far as the impact to river outfitters, kayakers, etc. the Bureau of Reclaimation can only take so much water. The amount of water they can take is dependent upon the level of the river. It was pointed out to me that the maximum they can take is 250 cfs, and only when the river is running at 3,000 cfs. That's hardly an impact on the river flow. As far as the 'Gold Medal' fishing impact, they have a fish trap/seperator that rejects the fish and forces them back into the river should the swim the wrong way. Not sure how it works, but I do recall seeing one on the Discovery Channel for somewhere along the Columbia River. So I do not see the arguement that we're not going to have our usual great fishing.
The positive notes for this project are that it has created a bunch of jobs, many of which will be on-going for years to come. This is something those of you that live in the Durango area should understand, especially those of you that have to make do with crappy jobs @ $10.00 an hour that may or may not be seasonal. Next, it does allow for the storage of a precious commodity called water, for whatever end-use intended. Water is a good thing to have in this arid part of the world. I don't know how many of you have seen the results of the fires from the air, but I can tell you I have. I flew over the top last summer in a 172SP, it was an awful sight to see the burns through the haze of smoke from fires that were burning somewhere.
All in all, the Mulies and Elk will be fine and adjust the feeding grounds and habitat accordingly. They have been adjusting to man's incursions for millenia. The fish will still breed and spawn in the rivers and lakes, and still manage to find their way onto a hook, then into a frying pan. There will be years when the boating is great and years when it is not. The Animas will keep on flowing regardless of what we do. A/LP may have some negative impact, but in the long run, both nature and man will adjust to it.
If you really want to help your environment, do the little things in your personal life that will actually make a difference. Use compact Fluorescent lighting, a low-volume toilet, xerascape your yard with native plants, use biodegradable soaps, turn your thermostat down to 60 or 65 at night, think about investing into solar and photovoltaic energy for your home, make a composting box and stop inundating the landfills compostable trash, and stop along the highway and pick up the trash you see laying there.