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Congress OKs $300 million for Great Lakes Cleanup
Awaiting President Barack Obama’s signature is a large spending bill that will fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Also included is roughly $533 million for loans at little or no interest for states in the region to upgrade leaky sewer systems.

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative began with 2005 report developed by government agencies, nonprofit groups, Indian tribes, and other interests that said the lakes were on the verge of ecological collapse and needed a huge infusion of cash to deal with the festering problems.

Some of those problems include invasive species such as zebra and quagga mussels; harbors and river mouths tainted for decades with heavy metals and chemicals; loss of habitat caused by wetland degradation; and water pollution from farm and urban runoff.

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Microbes Aid in Establishment of Invasive Species - Researchers are also testing the effects different sediments have on the growth of algae and have found that sediments associated with seagrass reduce algal growth. The results show that dense beds of seagrass are resistant to colonization of algae, but when seagrass beds decline due to other pressures the balance of microbes in the sediment changes, giving the algae a change to invade new areas.

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