(CBS) — The state of Illinois has awarded 26 groups grants totaling $1.6 million for programs designed to conserve and enhance the shoreline of Lake Michigan and adjacent waterways.

The grants ranged in size from $10,500 to $143,000 and were awarded to projects from just south of the Illinois-Wisconsin state line to the Calumet region.

In awarding the grants, with the Oak Street Beach as his backdrop, Gov. Pat Quinn said he sees no better way to observe Earth Day than working to keep Illinois clean and safe for future generations.

He urged people across Illinois to get outside and volunteer for beach and river shoreline clean-up programs. He made the announcement as volunteers from the Alliance for the Great Lakes did a clean-up of Oak Street Beach.

The money awarded by the state comes from a federal grant obtained through the Illinois Coastal Management Program.

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