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Chicago Park District gets over $1 million for lake clean-up

The Chicago Park District has received over $1 million in federal grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help clean up Lake Michigan. The grants are part of the EPA's Great Lakes Restoration Initiative that awards funds to agencies or groups around the region to help restore and protect the Great Lakes.

The EPA awarded nine grants to groups in Illinois Monday, totalling over $2.6 million dollars. Susan Hedman, program manager for the Great Lakes National Program, said in Chicago, the $1.1 million dollars will be used to help keep the beaches open.

"Often, beaches in the city are closed because of contamination, and last year EPA funded some projects to help notify people when beaches were closed and to make determinations about when they should be closed. This year we're funding projects that will help to clean up those beaches and prevent beach closures," Hedman said.

Park District spokeswoman Zvez Kubat said the money will fund many projects ranging from cleaning equiptment to dogs that chase geese off the beaches to reach this end.

"We were very excited right off the bat, the grant will help us be aggressive beach managers and continue to communicate to public, letting them know if the water is safe and clean," Kubat said.

The EPA awarded 70 grants totalling nearly $30 million dollars to groups across the Great Lakes Region to aid in cleanup and restoration efforts. Illinois recieved nine of those grants, bringing more than $2.6 million dollars to agencies across the state.

The Great Lakes Restoration initiative grants are a part of a five-year plan developed by the Obama administration.

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