By Jim Tankersley – February 22, 2010 – The Los Angeles Times

Reporting from Washington – The Environmental Protection Agency on Sunday unveiled a five-year, $475-million plan to revitalize the Great Lakes, including cleaning up polluted water and beaches, restoring wetlands and fighting invasive species such as Asian carp.

Federal and state officials call the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan “historically unprecedented” in size, funding and coordination between branches of government.

The plan calls itself light on study and heavy on action, seeking to heal the Great Lakes ecosystem from “150 years of abuse” and to ensure that “fish are safe to eat; the water is safe to drink; the beaches and waters are safe for swimming, surfing, boating and recreating; native species and habitats are protected and thriving; no community suffers disproportionately from the impacts of pollution; and the Great Lakes are a healthy place for people and wildlife to live.”

Developed by 16 federal agencies, the plan requires annual progress reports from the EPA on restoration activities and the allocation of funding, which would come from the normal congressional appropriations process.

The plan sets concrete measures for progress on several key threats to the lakes and their surrounding communities.

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