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Improving Our Coastal Waters
In March 2002, EPA, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture issued the first environmental report card on the condition of our coastal waters, providing an important baseline to measure future improvement. The Bush Administration has taken steps to address coastal issues, including providing $20 million in grants in the President's budget for watershed protection. To reduce bacterial contamination in coastal waters, EPA is also issuing technical guidance to improve the design and operation of septic systems used in many coastal areas. EPA and several other agencies are participating in a new Estuary Habitat Restoration Council, focusing on restoring estuaries - a valuable coastal resource. EPA, NOAA, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture are working with States and tribes to implement the Action Plan that was delivered to the Congress last year to address the "dead zone," a large oxygen-starved area in the Gulf of Mexico that threatens one of the Nation's most valuable fishing grounds.
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