Making Waves
November 1, 2016
In this edition of Making Waves:
Welcome Sandusky, OH!
Please join us in welcoming the newest member to the Cities Initiative, the Honorable Dennis Murray, President of the Sandusky, Ohio City Commission! Welcome!  

Cities Initiative Instrumental in Inaugural Parliament Hill Day
The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, along with the Council of the Great Lakes Region, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, and leading NGOs including Freshwater Future, Strategies Saint Laurent, Alliance for the Great Lakes, Canadian Environmental Law Association, le Regroupement des organismes de bassins versants du Québec, and Environmental Defence Canada, organized and participated in a successful inaugural Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Parliament Hill Day on October 27, 2016.  The groups requested that the Government of Canada join with them and others in a collaborative effort to develop a common vision and roadmap to ensure the long-term health of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River ecosystem and the vitality and competitiveness of the region's economy.  Cities Initiative member mayors in attendance included Mayor Randy Hope, Mayor Mitch Twolan, Borough Mayor Chantal Rouleau, Mayor Paul Dyster, Mayor Denis Lapointe, and Mayor Sandra Cooper. During Parliament Hill Day, the mayors along with partners from the other organizations met with a number of ministers, parliamentary secretaries and opposition leaders, including the following:
  • Minister Catherine McKenna, Environment and Climate Change
  • Minister Marc Garneau, Transportation
  • Minister Scott Brison, Treasury Board
  • Minister Dominic Leblanc, Fisheries, Oceans and Coastguard
  • Minister Jim Carr, Natural Resources
  • Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, Parliamentary Secretary, Foreign Affairs
  • Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada
  • Rhéal Fortin, interim leader of the Block Québecois
  • Caucus members of the New Democratic Party, and
  • Caucus members of the Conservative Party of Canada.
To learn more about Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Parliament Hill Day, please visit
Assessment of the new Canadian Pipeline Safety Act now available
On, Thursday, October 27th, as part of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Parliament Hill Day, the Cities Initiative presented its recommendations following an assessment of the new Pipeline Safety Act to M. Carr, Minister of Natural Resources. The new law was adopted to overhaul the statutory liability regime for federally-regulated pipelines, which has historically been considered as inadequate. While it is a great step forward to increase the protection of the environment and of Canadian citizens, some gaps remain. The Cities Initiatives' recommendations include the need to reduce the discretionary nature of the law, the importance to reintroduce the notion of unlimited liability of pipeline companies in the event of a spill as well as the necessity to recognize explicitly local governments. To access the report, please  click here .

New, safer tank cars now transport crude oil by rail
The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, highlighted on October 31, 2016, that legacy DOT-111 tank cars will be completely removed for crude oil service by 12:01 a.m. tonight, in accordance with Protective Direction 38. Any person or organization importing, handling, offering for transport or transporting crude oil can no longer ship crude oil in legacy DOT-111 tank cars into or within Canada.  Protective Direction 38 accelerated the phasing out of unjacketed legacy DOT-111 tank cars six months early and legacy jacketed DOT-111 cars 16 months early. Legacy DOT-111 tank cars are considered to be the least crash resistant tank cars in crude oil service. These older tank cars have been replaced by the TC-117, which includes several additional safety features, including thicker steel, head shields, thermal protection, and top fitting protection.  Transport Canada's dangerous goods inspectors continue to closely monitor industry's compliance with the tank car phase-out schedule, as part of its existing inspection program.

White Paper Released on the Future of GLRI
The Cities Initiative played a central role in preparing "The Future of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative," a white paper developed by a group of Great Lakes leaders  convened at the Northland College Burke Center for Freshwater Innovation's Water Summit. The white paper is to be presented to the next U.S. presidential administration. It recommends continuation of funding of GLRI for the next five years at $300 million or more, focus on areas of concern, nutrient management, invasive species prevention and control, more collaboration with Canada, Indigenous Peoples, and the private sector, and other actions. The document and a short video can be found here

Sustain Our Great Lakes Ecological Restoration Grantees Announced
Sustain Our Great Lakes recently announced $5.18 million in grant funding for 19 ecological restoration projects in the Great Lakes basin. The grants will sustain, restore and protect fish, wildlife and habitat in the Great Lakes basin through a focus on restoring coastal wetland habitat and improving the quality and connectivity of streams and riparian habitat.  Sustain Our Great Lakes is a public-private partnership that supports habitat restoration throughout the Great Lakes basin. A significant portion of program funding is provided by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. To learn more about the grant recipients, click here.

New Whitepaper on Lake Huron Land Protection 
Keystone Policy Center has released a white paper, Opportunities for Land Protection in the Lake Huron Basin, that explores opportunities for enhancing land protection on the U.S. side of Lake Huron.  The paper describes two broad considerations: i) capitalize on existing natural resources to envision a larger value of the resources in the community and catalyze collaborative efforts toward that vision, and ii) consider ways to mobilize collective capacity to maximize utilization of land protection tools consistent with landowner interests to protect and conserve land.  Keystone Policy Center was awarded a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative with the broad scope of engaging stakeholders on the U.S. side of Lake Huron. To learn more, please visit

Cities Initiative Members Receive Communities in Bloom Awards
The City of Racine, Wisconsin and the Municipality of Lambton Shores (located within the County of Lambton, member of the Cities Initiative) recently received awards from Canadian non-profit  Communities in Bloom at the organization's 22nd National and International Awards Ceremony in Regina, Saskatchewan, which honors municipalities across Canada, the United States, England, United Kingdom, Ireland, Croatia, and Italy. Racine was awarded a Bronze 5 rating for their Samuel Myers Park Rehabilitation and Lambton Shores won the Natura Tidiness Award as well as the International Challenge Large City division. Other member cities, including Kingsville, Whitby, Goderich, Oshawa, Fort Erie, and Essex (within Cities Initiative member,  Essex County) also received recognition. The awards are based on in-person evaluations performed by two judges to assess the city's tidiness, environmental action, heritage conservation, urban forestry, landscape and floral displays. For more information and a full list of award winners,  click 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.
  • November 10, 2016: Coastal bluff erosion - Milwaukee and Ozaukee Counties, Wisconsin
  • November 17, 2016: Extreme water levels - Huron County, Ontario
  • 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.

Please join the 125 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