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In order to get a jump start on the 2006 beach season, the Bush Administration announced 30 states and five territories will share $10 million in EPA grants for beach water quality monitoring and notification programs. During the past six years, EPA has provided nearly $52 million under the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health Act (BEACH) of 2000 to states with shorelines along the nation's ocean coasts or around the Great Lakes.
"While most of us are not thinking about hitting the beach in January, this funding will ensure that families are better protected when heading to their vacations this summer," said EPA administrator Stephen L. Johnson. "These grants are an integral part of the administration's Clean Beaches Plan, improving water quality and keeping the public informed."
Beach water monitoring helps identify actions needed to reduce pollution, such as warnings and closures, when bacteria concentrations reach unsafe levels. In addition, as part of the Clean Beaches Plan, EPA is working on new technologies that will provide faster test results, enabling local health agencies to determine more quickly if a beach should be open for swimming.
Grants are available to eligible coastal states and territories based on the length of beach season, the miles of beach and the number of people who use that beach. In addition, money will be made available to eligible Indian tribes who apply. The grants, which cover a five-year period, will be awarded early this year. States and territories must make formal application to receive their allotted funds.