Help arrives for the ailing Alamosa

  For years, locals have declared Colorado's Alamosa River "dead," killed by pollution from the notorious Summitville Mine. Now, a grassroots organization has teamed up with a national group to resurrect the river. The Capulin, Colo.-based Restore Our Alamosa River was selected from 130 applicants to join a national umbrella group, Water Keepers Alliance, that provides legal contacts and a slew of other resources to local environmental groups. There are 26 Keeper programs throughout the country, but each group operates independently.

"In order to protect our environment, efforts have to come from local people who look at and work on the river every day," says ROAR member Cindy Medina. She says her family has watched the decline of the Alamosa River for generations. "I have a great-uncle who used to drink right from the river; now people don't even stick their finger in it anymore."

The state of Colorado and the Environmental Protection Agency are cleaning up the mine, but Medina says she's frustrated by the slow progress and welcomes help from the Keepers Alliance.

On May 5, Alliance co-founder Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will speak at a ROAR fund-raiser in Capulin. For more information about the event, call Medina at 719/274-4298. Contact the Water Keepers Alliance by writing to PACE Environmental Clinic, 78 N. Broadway, White Plains, NY 10603, calling 914/422-4410, or finding their Web site at

* Rebecca Clarren

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