Skip to main content

One of the country's most endangered rivers is in Minnesota, group says

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

The largest United States tributary to Lake Superior is one of the most endangered rivers in the country, according to the conservation group American Rivers.

The 194-mile-long St. Louis River – which begins near Hoyt Lakes, Minnesota, and flows through the Superior National Forest into Wisconsin before finally emptying into Lake Superior – came in at No. 8 on American Rivers' America's Most Endangered Rivers report.

The annual report released Monday highlights 10 rivers that face urgent environmental threats, and the St. Louis River is one of five on the list threatened by some kind of mining.

American Rivers says copper-nickel mining proposals (such as PolyMet's NorthMet project) near the river's headwaters puts drinking water, wildlife and thousands of acres of forested wetlands and streams at risk.

Within a few weeks, state and federal agencies will decide if PolyMet's environmental review is complete enough to allow the company to apply for permits to start the mine, the Duluth News Tribune says. If permits are approved, work on the mine could begin later this year.

American Rivers is urging officials to deny the permits because it argues PolyMet's plan doesn't sufficiently protect the river and surrounding communities. However, PolyMet officials maintain the project – which would tap into one of the largest and untouched copper and nickel deposits on Earth – would meet all state and federal water quality rules, and boost the state's economy.

The St. Louis River is the second river in the state to make American Rivers' list in the last three years because of copper-nickel mining proposals, MPR News reports. In 2013, the South Kawishiwi River, which flows into the Boundary Waters, was No. 6 on the list.

Next Up

Tettegouche State Park bridge

Trails reopen as waters subside, but bridges damaged at Tettegouche State Park

Water levels on the river have dropped about six to eight feet since Friday.

Keith Harvell

Body pulled from Mississippi River ID'd as missing Elk River man

Keith Harvell had been missing since early last month.

900 W Broadway Ave, Minneapolis, Minnesota - July 2021

2 victims identified in double-fatal north Minneapolis shooting

A 21-year-old man and a 51-year-old man were identified as the people who died at the scene this past weekend.

Proctor football

Former Proctor HS football player pleads guilty to sexual assault of teammate

The case will also remain in juvenile court, with conditions.

Doug Wardlow

Doug Wardlow reneges on promise, will challenge GOP's AG candidate in primary

Wardlow's announcement sparked swift criticism from the MN GOP and the party-endorsed candidate, Jim Schultz.

Flickr - welcome to minnesota sign - Tony Webster

US News '150 Best Places to Live' features 1 from MN, 3 from WI

The latest US News list is for the most populous metro areas only, so no small towns.

tornado

7 tornadoes touched down last week in western MN, ND

Two of the seven were EF-2 level tornadoes, according to the National Weather Service.

covid

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, May 17

72 hours of case data reported over the weekend is included in Tuesday updates.

Stallings surveillance footage - screengrab - crop

City of Minneapolis, Jaleel Stallings reach $1.5M settlement

Although a settlement was made, the city will not admit fault or take any responsibility for the incident as part of the agreement with Stallings.

Kayak

2 rescued after kayaks capsize on Sauk River

Recent heavy rainfall produced a strong currents on the water.

Related