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Great Lakes Article:

EPA: Federal Dollars Help States Improve the Nation's Beaches
U.S. Newswire
Published May 25, 2005

To: National Desk, Environment Reporter

Contact: Stacie Keller of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 202-564-4355 or keller.stacie@epa.gov

WASHINGTON, May 25 /U.S. Newswire/ -- As Americans plan their summer vacations this Memorial Day weekend, EPA is helping states, tribes, and local beach managers to improve their beach monitoring and public notification programs. The Bush Administration announced almost $10 million in grants today to assist in monitoring for pathogens in recreational waters. During the past four years, EPA has provided nearly $42 million in grant money to 35 coastal states and territories.

"Beaches are often a part of our summer recreational activities," said Benjamin Grumbles, assistant administrator for the Office of Water. "Through these grants, we can improve the water quality and keep the public informed so that they can enjoy trips to the beach confidently."

Congress passed the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health Act (BEACH Act) in October 2000 to make monitoring programs more consistent nationwide, improve water quality testing at the beach, and help beach managers better inform the public about water quality problems. The act authorizes EPA to award grants to help eligible states, tribes, and territories develop and implement beach water quality monitoring and notification programs. These grants also help develop and implement programs to inform the public about the risk of exposure to disease-causing microorganisms in coastal waters (including the Great Lakes).

The administration's Clean Beaches Plan finalized in April 2004 is helping state, tribal, and local beach managers strengthen their programs. This plan describes what EPA will do over the next couple of years to achieve two major goals: promote recreational water quality programs nationwide and create scientific improvements that support timely recreational water monitoring and reporting. The plan also recognizes that beach managers need tools that allow for local and regional differences in pollution sources and climate.

In addition, EPA's Office of Research and Development sponsors research to improve the understanding of human health risks associated with pathogens in recreational waters and to provide better, faster indicators for monitoring pathogens in recreational waters. More information on Beach and Recreational Water Quality and Monitoring is available at: http://www.epa.gov/ord/NRMRL/pubs/625r02017/625r02017.htm

For information about the water quality at beaches, local protection programs and other beach-related activities, go to: http://www.epa.gov/waterscience/beaches .


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