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Historical production of metals in the western United States has left a legacy of acidic drainage and toxic metals in many mountain watersheds that are a potential threat to human and ecosystem health. Studies of the effects of historical mining on surface water chemistry and riparian habitat in the Animas River watershed have shown that cost-effective remediation of mine sites must be carefully planned. of the more than 5400 mine, mill, and prospect sites in the watershed, ∼80 sites account for more than 90% of the metal loads to the surface drainages. Much of the low pH water and...

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