Making Waves
April 18, 2017
In this edition of Making Waves:
Register for the Cities Initiative 2017 Annual Meeting: Cities and Strategic Partnerships!
Join us for the 2017 Annual Member Meeting and Conference this June 14-16, 2017 in Montreal, Quebec to explore how strategic partnerships advance Great Lakes and St. Lawrence protection and restoration, and benefit municipalities.  Panel topics include Indigenous-municipal partnerships to advance water management, city to city partnerships to encourage municipal leadership, public private partnerships that succeed, intergovernmental collaboration to protect water resources, and strategic partnerships to advance action on climate change.  Register before April 28th while the early bird rates are still available!  Visit .  

Cities Initiative Meets with Premier Wynne
Premier Kathleen Wynne was in Chicago on April 10 and David Ullrich met with her and a number of her staff.  Also in the meeting were Joel Brammeier of the Alliance for the Great Lakes and Dave Naftzger of the Governors and Premiers organization.  Premier Wynne wanted to hear from us what the big Great Lakes issues are at this time.  We all emphasized that the budget was by far the biggest challenge facing us, along with the implications of budget cuts for the fight against Asian carp and other invasive species and the work to reduce nutrient loadings.  I explained that our Mayors from Canada and the United States had been very outspoken about this.  She wanted to know what she could do to help.  We said that efforts by her to get the Premier of Quebec and the eight Great Lakes Governors to speak out, as well, would be very helpful.  We said that appropriations hearings in May and June would be critically important, and that any way the Canadian, Ontario, and Quebec governments could make their concerns known would be helpful.

Municipalities Take a Stance on Budget Cuts
In response to the proposed elimination of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) in President Donald Trump's FY2018 federal budget, a number of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative members have responded by passing city council resolutions.  The resolutions emphasize the significance of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River system to the two countries and the more than 48 million U.S. and Canadian citizens that depend upon it for their drinking water, celebrate the results of investment in protection and restoration efforts by local governments and other orders of government, and encourage the U.S. and Canadian federal governments to pursue investment in the lakes and river at the appropriate level.  Fort Erie, Mississauga, Oakville, Peel Region, Toronto and Traverse City have passed resolutions so far.  We have also received resolutions from the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District and the National Assembly of Quebec, and letters of support from the Town of Tecumseh and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario.

Letters Sent to Congressional Appropriators In Support of GLRI 
Since the release of the President's 2017-2018 budget in mid March, multiple groups have sent letters to House and Senate appropriators urging continued investment in the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. At the end of March, 63 members of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to House Budget Appropriators reiterating the success of GLRI and need for continued funding.  Healing Our Waters, a coalition of over 150 environmental, conservation, and outdoor recreation groups, also sent letters to House and Senate appropriators on April 11th urging them to support a robust Great Lakes agenda.  In addition, the Great Lakes Commission sent a letter to House appropriators on April 7th in support of full funding for the GLRI. The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative will send similar letters to appropriators this month.

City of Sandusky to Receive $1 Million for Nutrient Reduction Work
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has granted $1 Million to the City of Sandusky from the Ohio Healthy Lake Initiative for nutrient reduction projects in Sandusky Bay.  Through the grant, Sandusky will develop four in-water habitat projects to recreate natural wetlands and mud flats.  Clean dredged material from the dredging of the federal navigation channel nearby will be used in the process.  This project helps the state address the disposal of dredged material in Lake Erie and further nutrient reduction efforts.  To learn more, click here.

More Information Required on Deep Geologic Repository
In early April 2017 the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency issued a response to Ontario Power Generation's (OPG) additional information relating to the Deep Geologic Repository.  The Agency determined that still more information is required from OPG to address the requests in the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada's February 18, 2016 letter for additional information.  In this most recent request from the Minister, still more information and detail is sought around an analysis of alternate locations for the DGR, environmental effects from the project, and OPG's commitment to mitigate adverse effects.  To read the letter, please click here.

Local Ordinance Provides Safe Pharmaceutical Disposal Options
Rockland County, NY joins 13 counties, two cities and two states in the U.S. that now require pharmaceutical manufacturers to fund and manage drug take-back programs.  Through Rockland County's ordinance, pharmacy chains with three or more U.S. stores are required to participate as collection sites.  To learn more, click here.

Chemical Spill Near Lake Michigan
On Tuesday, April 11, 2017 US Steel reported that wastewater containing hexavalent chromium, a toxic byproduct of industrial processes, was discharged into a canal in Portage, IN.  The canal is located within 100 yards of Lake Michigan.  The National Park Service temporarily closed two beaches at the Indiana Dunes State Park and the US EPA is monitoring the Burns Waterway, which leads into Lake Michigan, for contamination.  The water intake for the Town of Ogden Dunes was shut down and switched to reserves as a precaution.

BEACH Act Grants Slated for Elimination
One of the more than 50 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency programs slated for elimination in President Trump's proposed FY2018 budget is the BEACH Act grants program.  A nnual assistance to coastal states and territories is provided through the grant program (less than $10 million divided among 35 states) to help pay for recreational water quality monitoring and public notification programs.  This monitoring and notification helps to ensure human health and safety in recreational waters.  More than half of coastal states rely solely on this federal grant to pay for their water quality monitoring. There is concern that without the federal funding, and the mandate that goes along with it to implement federal recreational water quality standards, states could abandon such protections or implement less protective standards.  To learn more about the BEACH Act and the grant program, visit

Events & Webinars
SODES Rendez-Vous!
Half day event that will cover major worldwide economic trends, current issues facing the marine industry, and sustainable economic development news and initiatives. 
April 20, 2017
Hôtel InterContinental, 360 Rue Saint-Antoine Ouest, Montréal
11:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EDT

To learn more, click here.

Great Lakes Economic Forum
Network with business, government, and NGO leaders to shape economic, environmental and social policy and boost the region's competitive edge.
April 24 - 26, 2017
To learn more and register:
FCM Sustainability and Climate Change Funding - Webinars
Webinar series that provides an overview of the climate change related funding available to municipalities in Canada and programs with the Federation of Canadian municipalities.

April 25-27, 2017

Various times (English and French webinars)
For more information on dates/times 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 is not yet open but a preliminary conference overview and information are 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 128 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