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Government launches 2 research labs on Great Lakes

CLEVELAND (AP) - The federal government has dedicated two new research vessels to serve as floating laboratories that research the health of the Great Lakes and its marine life.

The watercraft, named Kaho and Muskie, replace two of the U.S. Geological Survey's oldest vessels by the same names and are part of the agency's five-vessel Great Lakes fleet. They were dedicated Wednesday at the Great Lakes Shipyard in Cleveland.

The Kaho serves Lake Ontario, and Muskie researchers work on Lake Erie. The government says the research is used to protect the area's $7 billion annual commercial and sport fisheries.

The Geological Survey last June awarded the shipyard an $8.2 million contract to build the two new vessels, funded through the federal stimulus program.