Please join us in welcoming Mayor John Antaramian of Kenosha, WI to the Cities Initiative! We look forward to working with Mayor Antaramian and the City of Kenosha.
Cities Initiative Hiring President / CAO
After over a decade of serving as the Executive Director of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, David Ullrich will be moving on to new
next summer. The Cities Initiative is hiring a new President/CAO based out of the Chicago, Illinois office. The Cities Initiative is looking for a candidate with exp
erience and knowledge related to: Great Lakes/St. Lawrence advocacy and policy, municipal government, non-profit management, coalition building, and bi-national collaboration. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and should be sent to
with only your name in the subject line.
to view the full position description.
Cities Initiative and OFA Receive Funding for Drainage Strategy
The Cities Initiative and Ontario Federation of Agriculture's (OFA) collaboration to reduce phosphorus entering the Thames River and ultimately Lake Erie is moving ahead, having received $203,000 in funding support from Canada's Growing Forward 2 program. Additionally, partners have committed an additional $100,000 in funding towards the Ontario Drainage Strategy, including the municipality of Chatham-Kent, Grain Farmers of Ontario and its Chatham chapter, the City of London, the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority, Blue Water Pipe Inc., and the 2 local chapters of the OFA in Kent, Lambton and Middlesex. The strategy has also received $20,000 from the founding partners, OFA and the Cities Initiative, respectively. The strategy will complement and collaborate with other initiatives to reduce phosphorus entering waterways, including the Fertilizer Institute's 4Rs program, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs' Great Lakes Agricultural Stewardship Initiative (GLASI) program, the Upper and Lower Thames Conservation Authorities' Clean Water Program, and the 'Growing Ontario Together' initiative led by the Grain Farmers of Ontario. Full press release can be found
We will continue to provide updates on this project as they become available.
Duluth Receives Funding to Spur Brownfield Redevelopment
The City of Duluth has received $650,000 in funding from US EPA to make loans for the redevelopment of brownfield sites.
Applicants will be eligible for loans of up to $200,000, and they will be required to provide no less than a 20 percent match of the loan funds. The redevelopment of brownfield sites, land previously used for industrial or commercial purposes that may be contaminated, can help encourage economic development and the revitalization of municipalities' waterfronts.
WIIN Act Passed; GLRI Authorized
The United States Congress approved the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act in its closing session last week. The WIIN Act, which most likely will be signed into law by the President, includes many provisions that are critically important to the Great Lakes, including:
- Authorization of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for five years at $300 million per year;
- Makes permanent the allocation of priority funds from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund for the Great Lakes Navigation System, sets a minimum appropriations level from the fund, and requires the Army Corps of Engineers to complete guidance on managing the Great Lakes as a single, comprehensive navigation system;
- Establishes a Great Lakes Harmful Algal Bloom Coordinator to work with federal, state and local agencies to coordinate actions to address harmful algal blooms in the Great Lakes;
- Includes a variety of provisions that respond to the drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan, and support the work of states and local communities to repair, upgrade and monitor water infrastructure;
- Reauthorizes and strengthens the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act and the Great Lakes Fishery and Ecosystem Restoration Program, which support fish and wildlife restoration, conservation and management projects in the Great Lakes region.
IJC Approves Plan 2014
The International Joint Commission (IJC) recently signed an order to approve Plan 2014,
a new regulation plan for determining water flows through the Moses-Saunders Dam located on the St. Lawrence River between Cornwall, Ontario and Massena, New York. The plan replaces an older system for regulating water flow that dates back to the 1950's. Plan 2014, which will go into effect in January 2017, will allow for more natural variations in water levels, spurring the rehabilitation of approximately 64,000 acres of coastal wetlands and improve habitat for fish and wildlife. Plan 2014 is the result of more than 16 years of scientific study, public engagement and governmental review. During the five-year Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Study (2000-2006), technical experts and stakeholders together built evaluation models and tested hundreds of alternatives, with extensive public participation throughout the process. The IJC held public meetings in 2012 and public hearings in 2013 before proposing Plan 2014 to the two federal governments. To learn more about Plan 2014, please click here.
IJC Recommends Strategy to Reduce PBDE Fire Retardants in Great Lakes
The IJC recently
recommending the governments of Canada and the United States adopt a strategy to address toxic polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in the Great Lakes, to reduce risks to human health and the environment. Although production of various PBDEs, a class of flame retardants, has been banned or is being phased out, residual PBDE flame retardants are still present throughout the Great Lakes basin in a vast array of products. PBDEs were designated by the governments of Canada and the United States as a Chemical of Mutual Concern (CMC) in May 2016 under Annex 3 of the
Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement
The IJC recommends that federal, state and provincial governments address PBDEs in the Great Lakes by developing and implementing a binational strategy, applying restrictions on the manufacture, use and sale of PBDEs and PBDE-containing products, guiding industry in methods to assess substitutes, and many more. To learn more, click here.
Great Lakes Commission Report on Water Use
According to water use data recently released by the Great Lakes Commission, 42.7 billion gallons of water were withdrawn per day in 2015 from the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River basin for purposes such as power plant cooling, public water supply, agricultural irrigation and industrial use. This data is included in the
2015 Annual Report of the Great Lakes Regional Water Use Database
, which provides information on withdrawals, diversions and consumptive uses of Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River water. The 2015 report, along with past years' reports, are available at
Events and Webinars
Climate Leadership Conference
Gathering of forward-thinking leaders from business, government, academia, and the non-profit community to explore energy and climate solutions, and provide support to leaders taking action on climate change.
March 1-3, 2017
Marriott Downtown Chicago
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
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
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
Sustain Our Great Lakes
In 2017, grant funding will be awarded in three categories, focused on protecting, restoring and sustaining Great Lakes fish, wildlife and habitat:
- Stream and Riparian Habitat
- Coastal Wetlands
- Green Storm Water Infrastructure - New funding category in 2017
Informational webinar January 10, 2017
11 AM EST /10 AM CST
Applications due February 21, 2017
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
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