beach protection

Investing in the Great Lakes: GLRI in 2011

By Cameron Davis

Over the last few weeks, we have announced million of dollars in funding for EPA-Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant investments across the Great Lakes basin. The only way the Great Lakes will be restored is through partner organizations and agencies doing their best work on the ground and in the water.

Lake Erie has been hit hard by harmful bacteria and algae, which can choke our beaches and threaten aquatic life, which according to some estimates can cost communities around Lake Erie up to $300,000 annually per beach closure. That’s why we made our first announcement in Toledo, Ohio. We highlighted work to build and maintain wetlands that capture phosphorus and other kinds of runoff that contribute to this problem, among other projects.

In Michigan, we’re tackling stormwater and working to open up the Boardman River, the largest dam removal and modification project of its kind. The completion of this project will reconnect hundreds of miles of river with Lake Michigan.

We’ve also announced grant investments in other Great Lake States to support efforts to fight invasive species, bring back habitat, and clean up Areas of Concern. This is the second year of the GLRI and we have already seen results but we can’t stop there.

You can find a project going on near you by visiting and using the interactive map on the home page. Feel free to share your thoughts with me about Great Lakes restoration in the comment box below. You can also find out more about our Great Lakes restoration efforts at the site listed above or by following me on Twitter (@CameronDavisEPA).

About the author: Cameron Davis is Senior Advisor to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. He provides counsel on Great Lakes matters, including the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Women in Science: Nancy Stoner – Beaches and Clean Water

By Nancy Stoner

As I look out my window, the budding trees, blooming flowers and falling rain signal that spring is coming. With the warmer weather, my family and countless others will be headed outdoors to enjoy time by the water. For many of us, this means trips to the beach.

Recently, I spoke at the National Beach Conference to discuss water quality at beaches and efforts to protect them from pollution. Beaches are among the most beloved water bodies for my family and many Americans. In fact, about 100 million people visit America’s beaches every year. Beach tourism also pumps more than $300 billion into the U.S. economy annually.

As a mother and an environmental professional, I am deeply motivated to protect human health and the environment, which includes our beaches and the people who visit them. We shouldn’t have to cancel beach trips – or become ill or develop skin rashes – because of pollution in our coastal waters.

EPA is working closely with state and local officials across the country to develop better measures for beach water pollution. Since 2000, EPA, in partnership with state, territorial and tribal governments, has made significant progress in improving the protection of public health at our nation’s beaches. From 2004 to 2009, U.S. beaches have been open for swimming about 95 percent of the time.

EPA grants have helped fuel this progress. During the last decade, EPA provided $102 million in grant funds to 37 coastal and Great Lakes states, territories and tribes to implement programs to monitor beaches for pollutants like bacteria and to notify the public when water quality problems exist. This year, EPA is providing almost $10 million in grants to continue and expand this important monitoring.

Additionally, to make our waters safer for swimming and to prevent pollution, we are working with communities to improve sewage treatment plants; strengthening storm water regulations to reduce polluted runoff from cities and towns; and working with our federal partners to prevent marine debris from entering our oceans.

We can all do our part to help keep beaches clean by taking actions such as planting more trees, installing rain barrels, picking up pet waste, keeping trash off the beach and properly disposing of household toxics, used motor oil and boating waste. After all, clean water is important to my family and yours!

Stay tuned to Greenversations throughout Women’s History Month and check out the White House website.

About the author: Nancy Stoner is the Acting Assistant Administrator for the EPA’s Office of Water and grew up in the flood plain of the South River, a tributary of the Shenandoah River.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

Packing for the Beach

As with any trip, a day at the beach should involve some planning and preparation. While a bathing suit is a given, there are some things that we should or should not take to the beach. What should appear on the checklist of the do’s and don’ts you may ask? Well, the number one thing NOT to take to the beach is…plastics, especially plastic bags. While plastics are commonly used in many aspects of our lives, they have become a major component of marine debris. From water and soda bottles, to cups, utensils, containers, packaging, these plastics have adverse effects on our beaches and marine life. Plastic bags are often swallowed by marine mammals, sea turtles, and seabirds with tragic consequences.

So what should you do when packing for the beach? Well, take reusable bags, bottles, and containers. While at the beach, make sure you dispose of trash properly.

On the must-haves at the beach? First and foremost, make sure you are SunWise and not sun-foolish. Make sure you take some sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15—even on cloudy days. Also, wear sunglasses and protective clothing like a wide-brimmed hat, for example. And in this day and age of modern mobile technology, EPA has a new mobile application that you can use on smartphones which allows you to check the UV index on the go! Just some simple tips to protect yourself, your family, and our environment.

About the author:  Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and chairs EPA’s Multilingual Communications Task Force.  Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.