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Experts debate how to improve Great Lakes program

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Academics and activists are debating how to do better at nursing the ailing Great Lakes to health as the Obama administration prepares to roll out a second phase of its wide-ranging cleanup plan.

A scientific report warned 8 years ago that the lakes were losing their ability to cope with environmental stress and ward off catastrophic breakdowns.

In response, government agencies and private groups developed a blueprint for dealing with longstanding problems such as invasive species, toxic pollution and wetland destruction.

The administration has devoted $1 billion plus to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

During a conference this week in Milwaukee, scientists have said the program should be fine-tuned to make sure the projects it funds will benefit the system as a whole, with stepped-up efforts to measure the results.

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