Experts debate how to improve Great Lakes program

Scientists, advocates debate ways to boost effectiveness of Great Lakes restoration program

Academics and activists are debating how to do better at nursing the ailing Great Lakes to health as the Obama administration prepares to roll out a second phase of its wide-ranging cleanup plan.

A scientific report warned 8 years ago that the lakes were losing their ability to cope with environmental stress and ward off catastrophic breakdowns. In response, government agencies and private groups developed a blueprint for dealing with longstanding problems such as invasive species, toxic pollution and wetland destruction.

The administration has devoted $1 billion plus to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. During a conference this week in Milwaukee, scientists have said the program should be fine-tuned to make sure the projects it funds will benefit the system as a whole, with stepped-up efforts to measure the results.

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