The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced funding for Great Lakes Restoration Initiative projects in Northern Michigan totaling $1.1 million. The projects will help to restore the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and Grand Traverse Band watersheds and put people back to work, using a conservation corps model to hire unemployed workers to improve habitat and clean up shoreline.

Avian botulism returned to Lake Michigan this year, killing more species and lasting longer than other recent outbreaks, according to state wildlife officials and researchers. The increase came after a two-year lull. The outbreaks first hit Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Benzie and Leelanau counties in 2006. The die-offs rapidly spread across northern Lake Michigan shorelines and killed an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 birds in 2007.