State agency examines Colorado headwaters areas

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(AP) — A study by the Colorado Geological Survey says poor surface-water quality in some headwaters areas isn't due to human activities like mining but to geology.

The agency launched the study after working with the U.S. Forest Service to identify environmental problems related to abandoned mines. Former Colorado Geological Survey Deputy Director Matt Sares says that during that work, researchers found that water upstream of mine sites wasn't always as pristine as researchers thought it would be.

The Colorado Geological Survey's new study identifies streams in 11 headwater areas where surface water is acidic and has high concentrations of metals even upstream of any significant human impacts.

Sares says the report can help wildlife managers avoid restocking fish where they can't survive and to better focus environmental cleanup efforts.

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