Making Waves
September 22, 2017
In this edition of Making Waves:
Cities Initiative President & CEO testifies on Brandon Road Study
Cities Initiative President and CEO John Dickert provided oral comments at the Chicago public hearing on the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Brandon Road Study on Monday, September 11, 2017.  The Cities Initiative's comments focused around the need to do the interim work at Brandon Road as soon as possible, to ensure this important control point is equipped to halt the movement of Asian carp from the Mississippi River basin to the Great Lakes basin.  Additionally, the Cities Initiative stressed that the work at Brandon Road is just one piece of the equation and ultimately full physical separation of the Mississippi River and Great Lakes basins is the most effective way to reduce the risk of an invasion.  To read the Brandon Road study or submit public comments, visit  The public comment period for the study has been extended from October 2 to November 16. The Cities Initiative will be submitting formal comments on the study to the USACE over the next month.

Mayor Cooper Appointed to Great Lakes Water Quality Board
Mayor Sandra Cooper of Collingwood has been appointed by Commissioners Lana Pollack and Gordon Walker of the International Joint Commission (IJC) to serve as a Canadian member on the Great Lakes Water Quality Board (WQB).  The WQB is the principal advisor to the IJC in reviewing and assessing progress in implementation of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.  David Ullrich, former Executive Director of the Cities Initiative, is currently co-chair of the WQB.  To learn more about the WQB, visit  

US GLRI Budget Update
On Thursday, September 14, the U.S. House of Representatives approved full funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative at $300 million for the 2018 Fiscal Year. The funding was included in the $1.2 trillion omnibus spending bill, which the House vote 211-198 to advance. Budget deliberations now move to the Senate. Many U.S. Senators, including Senator Debbie Stabenow, have recently expressed confidence that GLRI will continue to be funded at the full $300 million level.

2017 Aquahacking Summit
On September 13 was held the 2017 Aquahacking Summit. The winning team, SIM Labs, developed a solution involving the development of a fast and robust method of automatically identifying and counting different species of cyanobacteria and predicting HAB (Harmful Algae Blooms) behavioural trends.  For more information, please visit:

Mayor Emanuel's Editorial on Climate Change
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel penned an editorial for The Guardian addressing how cities are leading by example on climate change where the US federal government is faltering.  Chicago has reiterated its commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28% by 2025 (compared to 2005 levels).  In fact, the city has already cut emissions by 7% from 2010-2015. To read the editorial, click here.

Whale Conservation on the St. Lawrence
The crew of the Traverse Trois-Pistoles - Les Escoumins ferry are participating in St. Lawrence River whale conservation efforts.  Through the Réseau d'observation des mammifères marins (ROMM), the crew will become qualified to collect observation data on the presence of whales along the ferry's navigation routes.  ROMM has made an effort to engage the maritime industry in whale conservation efforts, forging relationships with organizations like Groupe Desgagnés, Canada Steamship Lines, and Green Marine. To read the press release on whale conservation efforts, click here.


Events and Webinars
Great Lakes Chloride Forum
Conference of environmental experts from the US and Canada to work towards best management practices and cooperative solutions to the rising issue of chloride in water.
October 4, 2017 - 8:30 AM-4:30 PM
First Canadian Place, Toronto
For more information contact, Scott McKay at
2017 Great Lakes Restoration Conference
Annual Healing Our Waters Great Lakes Restoration Conference, a forum to learn about important Great Lakes restoration issues; network at the largest annual gathering of Great Lakes supporters and activists; and develop strategies to advance federal, regional, and local restoration goals.

October 17-19, 2017
Hyatt Regency - Two Fountain Plaza
Buffalo, New York, USA, 14202

 2017 State of Lake Michigan and Great Lakes Beach Association Conferences

The 2017 SOLM brings together
lake-specific research, policy development, management, education, and nonprofit organizations to broaden the discussion and provide diverse interaction among stakeholders.  GLBA is a must for beach managers and other stakeholders with an interest in the health of Great Lakes beaches.


November 4 - 7, 2017

Hyatt Regency Green Bay
Green Bay, WI

To register and view the program:

Funding Opportunities
Great Lakes Guardians

Provincial grants of up to $25,000 for local projects to help protect and restore the Great Lakes. 

Application Deadline:
November 10th at 5 PM EST

Click here for more information.

NOAA Marine Debris Program - Prevention
Provides funding to prevent the introduction of marine debris into the marine and coastal environment. Projects awarded will encourage changes in behavior of a target audience (such as students, teachers, industries, or the public) to address a specific marine debris issue, and will actively engage these groups in hands-on personal participation. Typical awards will range from $50,000 - $150,000. 

Letter of Intent Due: September 28, 2017
You will be notified by November 1, 2017 if you have been selected to submit a full application
For more information, click here.

NOAA Marine Debris Program - Removal
Supports the development and implementation of locally-driven, marine debris prevention, assessment, and removal projects that benefit coastal habitat, waterways, and NOAA trust resources. Projects awarded through this grant competition establish on-the-ground marine debris removal activities, with priority for those targeting derelict fishing gear and other medium- and large-scale debris. Projects should also foster awareness of the effects of marine debris. Typical awards will range from $50,000 to $150,000.

Application Deadline: November 1, 2017
For more information, click here.
Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act Financing (WIFIA)
WIFIA is a new federal credit program administered by US EPA for eligible water and wastewater infrastructure projects.  WIFIA can fund development and implementation activities for projects like: 1) Wastewater conveyance and treatment projects; 2) Drinking water treatment and distribution projects; 3) Enhanced energy efficiency projects at drinking water and wastewater facilities.

Deadline: TBD


It is anticipated there will be another round of applications for WIFIA at the end of the year, assuming the federal appropriations are authorized by October.   

To learn more about the program, click here

Please join the 131 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.