Making Waves
December 1, 2016
In this edition of Making Waves:
Mayor Rosalynn Bliss named 2017 Rose Fellow
Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss along with the mayors of Anchorage, San Jose and Washington were selected as the 2017 class of Daniel Rose Fellows by the Rose Center for Public Leadership in Land Use.  The mayors will lead teams from their respective cities who will receive technical assistance on a local land use challenge from the National League of Cities, the Urban Land Institute, and their peers from the other fellowship cities.  The Rose Center's mission is to encourage and support excellence in land use decision making by providing public officials with access to information, best practices, peer networks and other resources to foster creative, efficient, practical and sustainable land use policies.  The team from Grand Rapids will include Mayor Rosalynn Bliss; Kristopher Larson, president & CEO, Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc.; Josh Naramore, Mobile GR and Parking manager, City of Grand Rapids; and Kara Wood, managing director, Economic Development Services, City of Grand Rapids. The project manager is Tim Kelly, vice president of planning and development, Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc.  To learn more, click here

Sandusky Receives $1 Million Grant for Wetlands Restoration
The City of Sandusky, Ohio, one of the Cities Initiative's newest member cities, recently received a $1 million state grant to fund four wetlands restoration projects along Sandusky Bay. The project, which uses dredged lake bottom materials to build up wetlands, is expected to reduce the pollution of Lake Erie and improve water quality in Sandusky Bay. The City will be meeting soon with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Office of Coastal Management to discuss next steps and finalize a timeline. There will also be a public process to allow members of the community to weight in. More information on the project is expected to be available soon.

Ontario Drinking Water Receives High Marks
The efforts and investment of municipalities throughout Ontario is resulting in high quality municipal drinking water.  The Chief Drinking Water Inspector gave Ontario municipal drinking water systems high marks in the 2015-2016 Annual Report .  Among the results:
  • 99.8 per cent of drinking water tests from municipal residential drinking water systems met Ontario's rigorous, health-based drinking water standards.
  • 74 per cent of all municipal residential drinking water systems achieved a 100 per cent inspection rating - a seven per cent increase since 2014-2015.
  • 99.6 per cent of drinking water tests from systems serving designated facilities such as daycares, schools or health care centres met Ontario's drinking water quality standards.
To access the whole report, click here

U.S. Steel Settlement Addresses Pollution in Gary
As the result of a lawsuit against US Steel for alleged Clean Air Act violations, brought forth by the states of Illinois, Indiana and Michigan, actions will be taken in Gary, Indiana as well as Michigan and Illinois to clean up pollution caused by the steel manufacturer.  Through a consent decree, US Steel will remove contaminated transformers from the Gary Works plant and repair a blast furnace to cut down on emissions from the plant.  Additionally, US Steel agreed to remove tires it dumped in Gary and replace PCB-contaminated lights in Gary schools with more energy efficient and environmentally sound ones. US Steel also agreed to conduct cleanups at its Granite City, Illinois and Ecorse, Michigan steel mills.  

U.S. Senate Unanimously Passes Digital Coast Act
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin's bipartisan Digital Coast Act unanimously passed the U.S. Senate on Tuesday. The legislation plans to help shoreline communities along the Great Lakes better prepare for storms, cope with changing water levels and strengthen economic development planning efforts continues to move forward.
The bipartisan Digital Coast Act was introduced by Senator Baldwin and Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) last year and now heads to the U.S. House of Representatives for consideration.The Digital Coast Act authorizes the next phase in coastal mapping at NOAA by ensuring that communities will continue to have the data to make accurate decisions and smart investments for economic development, shoreline management and coastal restoration. More information on the Digital Coast Act is available here.

Events and Webinars 

Living with Highs and Lows: Policies and Adaptive Actions for Great Lakes Water Level Variability 
Four part webinar series that explores policies and adaptive actions used by communities to address water level variability.
  • December 1, 2016: Climate change, lake levels, tribal fisheries and culturally important sites - Northwest Lower Michigan
  • December 8, 2016: Developing land-use regulation and infrastructure policy - Southwest Michigan 
All webinars will run from 12:00pm - 1:00pm EST. Click here to register.

Cities Initiative All Member Webinar
Quarterly webinar given by GLSLCI staff to update the membership on our programs, project and priority issues
Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Funding Opportunities (U.S.)
2017 RFP: Five Star & Urban Waters Restoration Grants
The Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration grant program seeks to develop community capacity to sustain local natural resources for future generations by providing modest financial assistance to diverse local partnerships focused on improving water quality, watersheds and the species and habitats they support.

Proposals due January 31, 2017
For proposal and information,  click here.

U.S. EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
Up to $26 million will be available for grants to state, tribal, interstate and local governmental agencies, institutions of higher learning and other nonprofit organizations. 

Applications due January 13, 2017
RFP and Information, click here.

Funding Opportunities (Binational)
RBC Blue Water Project Community Action Grants
These grants of $1,000 to $10,000 focus on protecting and preserving water in towns and cities and supports initiatives in urbanized areas with populations more than 10,000 people.

Proposals due December 23, 2016
For proposals and information, click here.

Please join the 127 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