South Kawishiwi River Named One of America’s “Most Endangered Rivers”

Paddling on the South Kawishiwi River (Photo by Greg Seitz)

The South Kawishiwi River, which flows into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, has been named one of “America’s Most Endangered Rivers” as a result of the Twin Metals mine proposal and other mineral exploration nearby.

The annual report by American Rivers, a national organization which works to protect and restore the nation’s rivers, highlights the potential for water pollution and harm to Ely’s tourism-based economy if new mines are permitted.

The history of pollution at similar mines elsewhere, and the mine proposal’s location three miles from the edge of the wilderness, led American Rivers to include the South Kawishiwi on its 2013 list.

The Boundary Waters is a unique and beloved wilderness of lakes and rivers,” said Betsy Daub, policy director of the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness. “The region should not be a guinea pig for risky new mines, which have never before operated without causing serious water pollution.”

 As part of the announcement, citizens are being asked to sign a letter to elected officials urging them to oppose the Twin Metals mine development, any legislation which would give mining companies access to public land, and state mineral leasing within the watershed. It also asks them to “strengthen and enforce Minnesota and federal water quality regulations” and urges expansion of mining protection zones around the Boundary Waters.

Want to learn more? Read Wilderness News’s recent cover story about the Twin Metals mine proposal.

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