- Associated Press - Thursday, October 1, 2015

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Researchers have compiled maps showing where recreational activities happen across the Great Lakes, to help set priorities for environmental restoration projects.

The federal government has spent more than $1.5 billion in recent years to deal with long-festering problems in the lakes.

David Allan of the University of Michigan says spending decisions often are based just on environmental degradation, without consideration of recreational opportunities and other benefits people receive.

His team developed maps showing places used for sport fishing, recreational boating, birdwatching, beach use and park visits across the five lakes, then compared them with other maps showing where dozens of environmental stresses are showing up.

Allan says knowing how threats and benefits are distributed will help better manage the Great Lakes.

A paper summarizing the findings is being released Thursday.

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