Yeah, I agree. I think we all (the paddling community) want it to stay like it is. There is no immediate threat. This group is pushing a forward thinking dialogue in hopes of potentially securing Wild and Scenic designation as a recreational status. The River Protection Workgroup will facilitate local dialogues, followed be regional dialogues and will then make recommendations to legislators about how to best protect various stretches of area rivers, including the Animas. Wild and Scenic designation would likely include some sort of federally designate water right and would ensure that federal dollars would not be used to help fund any new impoundments. None are currently planned, and the only conditional water right tied to an impoundment site is at a site in Howardsville, upstream of Silverton. It is owned and connected to the Animas La PLata project (ALP), currently Lake Nighthorse, and given that there are likely more users downstream to sell water to, ALP will likely not develop the right up at Howardsville, unless it became profitable to do so (say with a new mining or milling operation-pure speculation, like I said, no immediate threats).
At the moment there are representatives from County Commissioners, the Forest Services, City officials, and other vested interests (mining, water development, enviros, and very few, mostly commercial boaters). This petition will help secure the opinions of affected boaters for the record as the conversations move forward.
Hope that helps,