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Great Lakes restoration projects announced

A coalition of environmental groups has selected a site on each of the five Great Lakes that they hope the federal government will target for cleanup and restoration.

A coalition of environmental groups has selected a site on each of the five Great Lakes that they hope the federal government will target for cleanup and restoration.

The Healing Our Waters Great Lakes Coalition picked places considered vital to each of the Great Lakes, and places that will get more bang for the buck by cleaning them up. The Lake Michigan site is the Chicago area, including the shipping canal where Asian Carp threaten.

The St. Louis River in Duluth-Superior is Lake Superior's site. National Wildlife Federation staff scientist Michael Murray says all the spots have industrial pollution and continuing threats to their environment. He says "in a lot of respects Lake Superior is healthy and maybe closer to pre-European major impact in terms of fishery, the food web, the coastal habitat, that kind of thing. But still, it's been a lot of degradation there and there are opportunities for both restoration and protection there."

There're lots of bucks to bang here, to the tune of $475 million from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the largest chunk of change ever passed by Congress to clean-up the Great Lakes. Just how it'll happen is still up for discussion. Jill Ryan is the co-chair of the Healing Our Waters Coalition. She says "we haven't limited our thinking in terms of what we would do with our grant assistance. We want to go to the communities and listen and just find out what the best use of our resources would be and work with them to do that."

The Healing Waters Coalition is offering $200,000 in grants for communities in the five sites to apply for the federal restoration money.

Related Topics: GREAT LAKES
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