You might think that going to the beach wouldn't require a multimillion-dollar federal grant program and the use of sophisticated systems. You'd be wrong. The Environmental Protection Agency's Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health program, at, plans to distribute $10 million this year to the 35 states with beaches.

Since Congress passed the Beach Act in 2000, EPA has issued about $32 million for the project, which forms part of the Clean Beach Program. States have used the grant funds to create Web sites such as and Wisconsin officials used the funds to identify the state's 173 public beaches and collect data about them using geographic information systems.

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