Making Waves
May 1, 2017
In this edition of Making Waves:
Welcome to Nicolet, Québec!
Please join the Cities Initiative staff in welcoming our newest member, Mayor Geneviève Dubois of Nicolet, Québec!

Full GLRI Funding Included in FY2017 Appropriations
In the 2017 Budget passed by the U.S. Congress over the weekend, the $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative was kept at its full funding level.  This is very good news. Although the battle for future funding for 2018 is far from over, this is definitely a good sign that the voices from the Great Lakes basin in Canada and the United States are being heard.

Early Bird Deadline Ends May 5 for the Cities Initiative 2017 Annual Meeting and Conference!
The early bird registration deadline for the Cities Initiative 2017 Annual Meeting: Cities and Strategic Partnerships ends on Friday, May 5. Register before May 5 to get the lowest price for registration! The 2017 Annual Member Meeting and Conference will take place June 14-16, 2017 in Montreal, Quebec and explore how strategic partnerships advance Great Lakes and St. Lawrence protection and restoration, and benefit municipalities. Panel topics, speakers, and the preliminary conference program are detailed on the Cities Initiative website. To register, visit
Register for the Binational Great Lakes & St. Lawrence Green Infrastructure Conference
Stormwater management, reducing the threat of flooding, improved water and air quality, reducing combined sewer overflows, and more - these are a few of the myriad of benefits of green infrastructure.  Please join the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and partners as they host the inaugural Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Green Infrastructure Conference, May 31 - June 2, 2017 in Detroit, MI.  The conference will focus on using green infrastructure across the landscape with a primary goal of protecting the surface waters in the Great Lakes region.  The binational conference is geared towards engineers, landscape architects, water quality professionals, government officials (local, state, provincial, and federal), developers, planners, academia, drain and road agencies, conservation and non-profit organizations.  For more information and to register (hotel block expires May 9 and early bird registration end May 12), visit

Cities Initiative Sends Letter to Congressional Appropriators on GLRI
The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative sent letters to Senate and House Appropriations Committees last week expressing support for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and requesting appropriations of $300 million for the program in the Fiscal Year 2018 appropriations. "The magnitude of the proposed cuts would have serious implications for the economy and restoration efforts of the Great Lakes region," it said. The letter also reiterates the shared responsibility for Great Lakes restoration and protection among all orders of government and highlights the  $15 billion in annual municipal spending to fund Great Lakes efforts. To read the letters, click here.

Cities Initiative Reviewing Options After Compact Council Denies Waukesha Appeal
In a continuation of its March 20th oral argument, the Great Lakes Compact Council convened on April 20th via webinar to discuss the status of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative's challenge to the Compact Council's Waukesha water diversion decision. Several representatives gave statements about their own review of Waukesha's application and the challenge, and the Compact Council voted 8-0 to not reopen or modify its earlier decision, stating that there was not a manifest error of law or fact or abuse of discretion. Given the Compact Council will not be reopening or modifying its final decision to grant Waukesha a diversion of Great Lakes water, the Cities Initiative is currently reviewing all options for how to best proceed to ensure the long term integrity of the Great Lakes, including possible judicial review. 

Submit Comments to the U.S. EPA on Environmental Regulations
The US Environmental Protection Agency published a  request for comment asking for input on environmental regulations by May 15, 2017. EPA's request is part of a federal government initiative under Executive Order 13777, "Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda," which directs federal agencies to establish a Regulatory Reform Task Force that will evaluate existing regulations and make recommendations on repeal, replacement and modification. To submit comments on U.S. water, air, and environmental regulation, including comments supporting the maintenance of regulations, click here:

Join the Phragmites Adaptive Management Framework
Phragmites Adaptive Management Framework (PAMF) is a new strategy for managing non-native Phragmites in the Great Lakes basin that provides the opportunity for land managers to benefit from adaptive management. PAMF will use adaptive management to scientifically learn from each Phragmites treatment going on around the basin and improve site-specific treatment guidance. PAMF Coordinators are seeking partners from across the basin to enroll Phragmites-infested sites and/or host a training session.  For more information or to enroll a site, visit, or contact Karen Alexander at or 734-971-9135.

High Water Levels Plague Lake Ontario - St. Lawrence River System
Rainy April weather coupled with spring snowmelt has resulted in extremely high water levels across the Lake Ontario - St. Lawrence River system, producing increased streamflows, rising water levels, and flooding. In some areas, such as the Ottawa River and Montreal, the flows have peaked, however, for Lake Ontario, the levels will continue to increase over the next few months. Multiple municipalities in the region, including the counties of Niagara and Orleans, declared a state of emergency due to the high water levels. The International Joint Commission's International Lake Ontario - St. Lawrence River Board, which determines Lake Ontario outflows, recently released a statement and warned jurisdictions to prepare for major coastal flooding. To read more, click here:

Great Lakes Economic Forum Applauds Binational Cooperation
The third Great Lakes Economic Forum convened in Detroit-Windsor last week, bringing together government officials, business professionals, academics, and politicians from the U.S. and Canada to discuss the region's shared economy. Hosted by the Council of the Great Lakes Region, the forum analyzed the impact of the U.S. President on binational trade, emphasized the importance of open borders in fostering regional economic vitality, and featured speeches from U.S. and Canadian leaders, including the Minister Navdeep Bains, former U.S. Ambassador Bruce Heyman, and Philippe de Gaspe Beaubien III and IV. Click here for more information:

U.S. Mayors Announce New National Drive for 100% Clean Energy
Last week, mayors from across the United States joined with the Sierra Club's Ready for 100 campaign to announce a new effort to engage and recruit U.S. mayors to endorse a goal of transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy. Mayors for 100% Clean Energy aims to demonstrate local climate leadership and showcase the support from city leaders for a transition to 100 percent renewable energy. The initiative is co-chaired by Mayor Philip Levine of Miami Beach, Mayor Jackie Biskupski of Salt Lake City, Mayor Kevin Faulconer of San Diego, and Mayor Stephen K. Benjamin of Columbia, South Carolina. For more information, click here:

Canada and Ontario Extend Public Consultations on Draft Domestic Action Plan
The Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario extend the public comment period deadline until May 24, 2017 for the Draft Domestic Action Plan aimed at reducing phosphorus loads and algal blooms in Lake Erie. The governments of Canada and Ontario are asking for input from stakeholders and community members on the Plan, which can be viewed here:  Send comments to or submit online here: 

Events & Webinars
Webinar: Manual control of non-native Phragmites
This webinar will show you how to remove and control small patches of
non-native Phragmites.
May 4, 2017
2-3 PM Eastern
For more information and to register, click here
National Adaptation Forum
Forum for adaptation practitioners to share strategies, lessons, tools, and information through formal trainings, facilitated practitioner presentations, and informal exchange of information.

May 9-11, 2017
Saint Paul, Minnesota
To learn more and register here.
Untrouble the Waters: Freshwater Lab Summit 2017
A summit dedicated to bringing mayors, local leaders, and researchers together to envision and launch projects that benefit communities and watersheds alike.

May 10-11, 2017
University of Illinois - Chicago
Click here for more information.

Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Green Infrastructure Conference
Conference focused on using green infrastructure across the landscape with a primary goal to protect the surface waters in the Great Lakes region.
May 31 - June 2, 2017
Detroit, MI
Registration and conference information available here.

Register for the Annual Meeting
Registration is now open for the Cities Initiative 2017 Annual Meeting, to be held June 14-16, 2017 in Montréal, Québec.  Please visit our website  to register and for more information.  Register and book your hotel room soon as space is limited!
All Hands on Deck
Join the movement to raise awareness for the Great Lakes.  All Hands on Deck, a citizen, grassroots effort, will take place on July 3 at 10am EDT, at shorelines in every community around the lakes, on land and in the water.  People will link hands on the beach and link boats on the water along the shorelines of the Great Lakes in every state and in Canada.  To learn more, please click here.

Please join the 129 Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative members in protecting and restoring the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River by clicking here for a membership application. If you are already a member, please encourage your neighboring communities to join, and be sure to renew your membership when you receive your notice.  

If your municipality would like to share news with the Cities Initiative, please email information to Melissa Soline at