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Mississippi, Boundary Waters named on 'America's Most Endangered Rivers' list

The American Rivers report highlights risk facing 2 prominent areas of Minnesota.

Two stretches of river in Minnesota are some of the most at-risk in the country.

That's according to environmental organization American Rivers, which has released its "America's Most Endangered Rivers" top 10 list for 2018.

At No. 3 is the stretch of the Kawishiwi River that cuts through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

The future of this river, it says, is under threat from the proposed Twin Metals copper-nickel mine nearby, which opponents argue could pursuit the waterway and wider Boundary Waters area.

The mine is currently under consideration by the U.S. Forest Service, which in January downgraded its planned analysis of the project from an environmental impact statement to an environmental assessment.

This move was opposed by Gov. Mark Dayton, among others, who said the government is putting mining interests ahead of the Boundary Waters.

American Rivers argues the Boundary Waters would be "gravely threatened" by the development.

The Mississippi River in the Twin Cities

In at No. 6 in the list is the 8-mile stretch in the Twin Cities, the Mississippi River Gorge that stretches from Saint Anthony Falls in Minneapolis to its confluence with the Minnesota River in Mendota Heights.

This area of river could be a recreational and wildlife marvel, were it not for the Lock and Dam at Lower Saint Anthony Falls and Lock and Dam 1, which American Rivers says is preventing a river restoration that could "bring back fish and wildlife that were exiled a century ago."

The dams have been closed to barge traffic since 2015, the Pioneer Press reports, and have been kept closed to prevent invasive carp from navigating north on the Mississippi.

American Rivers says keeping the dam closed the gorge's "aquatic habitat ... could continue to decline for a generation or more."

The removal of the dams is currently being considered by the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers, which is expected to make a decision next year.

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