The Obama Administration has developed a five-year, $2.2 billion improvement plan for the Great Lakes.
Among the goals is taking a "zero-tolerance policy" toward future invasions by foreign species, including the Asian carp. Others goals include cleaning up the region's most heavily polluted sites, restoring wetlands and other crucial habitat, and improving water quality in shallow areas, where runoff from cities and farms has led to algae blooms and beach closings, according to an article in the New York Times.
A strategy for monitoring the ecosystem's health and holding federal agencies accountable for carrying out the plan are also included.
Among the goals officials hope to achieve by 2014: cleanup work at five toxic hot spots, a 40 percent reduction in the rate at which invasive species are discovered in the lakes, measurable decreases in phosphorus runoff, and protection of nearly 100,000 wetland acres.
It also aims to help save species like the lake sturgeon, which is endangered. The plan promises to provide 25,000 young sturgeon for stocking programs.
The lakes provide drinking water to more than 30 million people and are the backbone of a regional economy dependent on tourism, outdoor recreation, shipping and manufacturing.