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St. Louis River cleanup takes big step forward

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Minnesota and Wisconsin officials now have $16 million in new grants to launch their final plan to restore the lower St. Louis River estuary and Twin Ports harbor, a first installment on a project that could ultimately cost $300 million to $400 million, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

Federal and state officials had gathered at the water's edge in June to unveil the plan aimed at restoring the St. Louis River, in part by cleaning up contaminated areas and making improvements to water habitats.

The St. Louis River system has "a long history of ecological degradation," the Environmental Protection Agency noted.

Now real money is being committed to restore an area damaged by 130 years of development, habitat loss, urban and industrial runoff, the News Tribune reports.

An eventual goal is to strip the Twin Ports harbor from the list of about 38 polluted hotspots across the Great Lakes by 2025, the newspaper reports.

The cleanup ultimately could also bring a boom to the Twin Ports largest industry, opening new doors for the shipping industry, Northland's Newscenter reports.

Here's more info about the river and its estuaries from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

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