This report extends our county-based geology and groundwater series and provides a regional overview with the general public in mind, although it contains detailed background that is formulated for more technical users. It is a compilation of the most recent geologic mapping and interpretations focusing on groundwater occurrences in the various geologic formations found in La Plata County. It was funded by the CGS through its Severance Tax and Colorado General Operational Funds. Digital PDF/GIS/ZIP download. OF-19-01D
Includes report with text, tables, figures, and appendices
Geologic map plates:
Water quality and type map plates:
Contains OF-19-01_LaPlataCo.mpk map-package files
From the Introduction:
La Plata County encompasses about 1,700 square miles per the U.S. Census Bureau and is predominately rural. The county was named for both the La Plata River and La Plata Mountains. The county currently has one city, Durango, which is the governmental seat. Within the county are two incorporated towns, Bayfield and Ignacio, and 13 small unincorporated towns or villages. The San Juan National Forest covers the northern one-third of the county. The southern one-third of the county is home to the Southern Ute Indian Tribe (SUIT), whose reservation seat is in Ignacio. Also, lands owned by the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe occupy a small area of the southwest corner of the county abutting the SUIT lands.
La Plata County has experienced rapid population growth in the last four decades with increased demand on local groundwater resources. Between 1970 and 2020 the county population grew by 66 percent and the number of installed water wells increased by almost 700 percent. According to the 2020 census, the population was approximately 55,638. Most of the recent decadal growth (2008-2018) has been in the form of spreading rural development. This has occurred predominately outside of Durango and Bayfield, and along the Animas River/U.S. Highway 550 corridor.