The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $350,000 to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to implement a nearshore bird management program at Jeorse Park, Buffington Harbor, Whihala, and Hammond beaches on the shoreline of Lake Michigan in Northwest Indiana. The beaches are located within the Grand Calumet River area of concern, one of 43 toxic hotspots identified by the United States and Canada in the Great Lakes basin. Bird management programs have proven to be an effective strategy to reduce levels of E. coli bacteria that contribute to beach closures. Studies have shown that gulls and geese are major contributors to the bacterial contamination affecting the beaches in the Grand Calumet River area of concern. This summer, IDEM will implement a comprehensive nearshore bird management program that expands on similar efforts from the past two beach seasons. The program, which relies on border collie patrol teams, wildlife-proof trash and recycling bins, and light-reflecting structures, deters gull and other nuisance bird activity on the beaches. This funding was made available through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.