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EPA Awards $400,000 to University of Minnesota Sea Grant Program

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced that University of Minnesota Sea Grant Program is receiving a $400,000 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) grant. The money will be used to help reduce the rate at which human activities spread aquatic invasive species throughout the Great Lakes region.

"Sea Grant's commitment to cooperation, raising awareness, and to protecting America's waters from pollutants shines through in this project," said Jeff Gunderson, director of Minnesota Sea Grant. "Just like chemical pollutants, biological pollutants such as zebra mussels and Eurasian watermilfoil need to be managed by all of us in ways that ensure our choices aren't damaging our friends, neighbors, and futures."

Aquatic invasive species have been economically and environmentally damaging in the Great Lakes basin. To curb the damage, Minnesota Sea Grant plans to extend the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network's campaigns to prevent the introduction and spread of harmful non-native plants and animals. Besides adding momentum to the recreational boater campaign "Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers!" and the youthful "Nab the Aquatic Invaders!", the new GLRI funding will fuel more outreach through "Habitattitude" and "AIS-Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point", two effective campaigns that target the aquarium/water garden trade and the aquaculture industry, respectively.

Through the multiple campaigns, principal investigator and Minnesota Sea Grant's aquatic invasive species program coordinator, Doug Jensen, expects that messages about preventing the spread of unwanted aquatic species will be viewed almost seven million times over the next three years across the Great Lakes region. The ultimate campaign goals are to promote awareness, protect water resources and save taxpayers' money. Keeping species like zebra mussels out of lakes with drinking water or power generating facilities can save $30,000 per lake per year according to a 2007 article published in Environmental Management.

Posted on September 2, 2011

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