EPA offers environmental grants to 22 Great Lakes cities

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Federal officials are inviting the 22 largest shoreline cities on the U.S. side of the Great Lakes to apply for grants under an Obama administration program designed to make progress on the region's festering ecological problems.

The Associated Press reports the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Friday the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grants will be awarded for "green infrastructure" projects that improve water quality by reducing urban runoff and sewer overflows.

A program manager tells the AP up to $8.5 million will be available. Grants will range from $250,000 to $1 million, depending on a particular city's population.

Cities can use the money to cover up to 50 percent of the cost of rain gardens, bio-swales, green roofs, porous pavement, greenways, constructed wetlands and other green infrastructure installed on public property.

The announcement comes days after the Obama administration pledged $50 million to help the lakes battle the invasion of Asian carp.

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