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Report: Great Lakes cleanup plan making progress

AP Environmental Writer

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — The Obama administration says a billion-dollar campaign to improve the Great Lakes environment is paying off.

U.S. federal agencies taking part in the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative released a report card Wednesday with results from the 2011 fiscal year. The program’s designed to make progress on some of the region’s most pressing environmental problems.

According to the report, agencies cleaned up 1 million cubic yards of contaminated sediments and continued work on toxic waste hotspots. It says the initiative’s grants helped protect or restore 20,000 acres of wetlands and develop technologies to fight sea lampreys and other invasive species.

It says the program also played a key role in keeping Asian carp from the lakes and removing river dams that were impeding fish passageways.

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