Boundary Waters are one of America's most vulnerable waterways, study says

The Boundary Waters are at grave risk of mining-related pollution, the study says.

The Boundary Waters are at grave risk of mining-related pollution, the study says.

Just in time for the 4th of July and the annual exodus up north the holiday brings, a Mother Jones-American Rivers study includes the Boundary Waters in the list of America's 21 "most vulnerable rivers."

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Mother Jones used data from American Rivers 2012 and 2013 reports in search of the rivers "under the most duress (or soon will be) from extended droughts, flooding, agriculture, or severe pollution from nearby industrial activity."

[jump] Here's what Mother Jones has to say about the threats currently facing the Boundary Waters:

What's going on? The Boundary Waters, which in the past have suffered from extensive mine exploration, are located two miles from the site of a proposed copper-nickel mine. If it gets built, the Boundary Waters will be at risk of toxic metal and chemical pollution from mine waste and will require active water treatment.

What's at risk? The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, covering 1.1 million acres, attracts as many as 250,000 visitors each year. It is home to wolves, lynx, moose, bears, loons, bald eages, and ospreys, and is a popular fishing destination. The US Forest Service estimates that the waters contribute about $100 million to the region's economy.

The only other major Midwestern river (or body of water) to make the list is the Missouri.

-- Aaron Rupar is off the rest of the week and wishes you a happy 4th of July holiday. Follow him on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at [email protected]