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EPA announces $8M in grants to help reduce invasive species in Midwest waters

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Beach area littered with zebra mussel shells
Beach area littered with zebra mussel shells

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - The UW System, UW-Milwaukee, and a Wisconsin tribal group have been awarded federal grants to help reduce invasive species in waters throughout the Midwest.

The EPA announced $8 million in grants Tuesday for 21 schools and non-profit groups that are conducting a variety of research into invasive species.

UW-Milwaukee was given $377,000 to come up new technology that detects invasive species in places where it’s hard to find – namely the ballast water of incoming foreign ships.

The UW System is getting $295,000 to teach community groups how to inspect and wash boats used in fishing tournaments. The goal is to stop the boats from carrying water which might contain invasive species or the contamination they produce.

Also, the Wisconsin Tribal Conservation Advisory Council is getting $400,000 to remove invasive plant species like purple loosestrife from 1,000 acres of tribal lands throughout the Great Lakes Basin. The project will also come up with standards for controlling invasive species without the use of herbicides.

The grant money comes from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which was developed during the George W. Bush years but was not funded until after President Obama took office.

Some of the grants involve efforts to keep the bloated Asian carp out of the Great Lakes.

Three universities are getting a total of $1.8 million to improve DNA systems for detecting the carp and other invasive species. 

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