Making Waves
March 3, 2017
In this edition of Making Waves:
President Trump Slashes Great Lakes Funding In Early Budget Plan
In an initial budget proposal from the White House Office of Management and Budget, funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) is cut from $300 million to $10 million. The proposed cut to GLRI is the single largest dollar cut on the list, raising serious concern among the Great Lakes community. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has been an incredibly successfully program since its inception in 2010, generating a 2-to-1 return on investment. In response, representatives from the Great Lakes community, including members of the Cities Initiative, are scheduled to meet with elected officials in Washington, D.C. on March 14-16 to discuss the importance of continued investment in and bipartisan support for the Great Lakes. The final Trump Administration budget is expected to be released on March 13.  Click here for the full news story.

Asian Carp Plan Delayed
Release of the results from the Brandon Road Lock study, part of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study, have been indefinitely delayed. The Brandon Road Lock study, launched 2 years ago, explored potential changes to the Brandon Road Lock and Dam system to keep Asian carp and other aquatic invasive species from passing through.  Agency officials are citing the need for more time to coordinate with governmental and non-governmental entities. Prior to the expected release of the study, a handful of U.S. Congressmen wrote President Trump expressing concern that the measures proposed by the Brandon Lock study would jeopardize commercial activity on the Chicago Area Waterway system. The delay is disturbing given the multi-year study, review process and input from multiple stakeholder groups. The Cities Initiative will continue to monitor the status of the study and report back to the membership.
New EPA Financing Program for Water Infrastructure
According to the US EPA, a $660 Billion investment in drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure is needed in the US over the next 20 years. US EPA has launched the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, a program that will provide long-term, low cost credit assistance in the form of direct loans and loan guarantees to creditworthy water projects.  This program provides municipalities and others another financing option for large infrastructure projects, in addition to the State Revolving Funds and bond markets. WIFIA is accepting letters of interest until April 10, 2017.  For more information, please visit  

Great Lakes Economic Forum - April 24-26, Detroit-Windsor
The Council of the Great Lakes Region (CGLR) is hosting the third Great Lakes Economic Forum in Detroit-Windsor, April 24-26, 2017.  From Partnership Flows Prosperity aims to convene leaders from around the region to share ideas to shape economic, environmental and social policy, and boost the region's competitive edge.  As reported by the CGLR, the region's gross domestic product in USD is $5.8 Trillion, roughly 20% of combined Canadian and US economic activity.  This conference is appropriate for government officials, industry executives, and leading academics and members of the NGO community. To learn more and register, visit  

Nestlé Applies to Increase Water Withdrawal in Michigan
Nestlé Waters North America is applying to increase groundwater withdrawal under section 17 of the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act.  Nestle is requesting that water withdrawal from the production well PW-101 at the White Pine Springs site in Osceola County be increased from 150 gallons per minute to 400 gallons per minute.  The well is located at the headwaters of the Chippewa and Twin Creeks, two coldwater trout stream tributaries of the Muskegon River.  Opponents are concerned about the effects of increased withdrawal on the water supply, aquifer recharge, the ecosystem, and species.  There is also concern over the lack of public engagement in the application process and gaps in Nestlé's application.  The public comment period for the Nestlé application was slated to close Friday, March 3, 2017 but there may be another 45-day extension.  The Cities Initiative will continue to monitor and report back to members on any developments, as well as explore what if any position the organization might take.  To read Nestle's application, click here  

Public Comment on Water Quality Agreement Progress
The International Joint Commission (IJC) is seeking public input on Great Lakes topics such as invasive species, climate change and public engagement through April 15, 2017 on ParticpateIJC, a website for gathering public comment on progress made by our two countries to restore the vitality of the Great Lakes.  Canada and the United States, and the International Joint Commission (IJC), recently released reports on progress under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, which provides goals to guide the two countries' work. You may review the reports - the   Parties Report on Progress and the IJC's draft Triennial Assessment of Progress (TAP) report - and provide written comments as well as joining the online discussions on topics in the TAP report. All written comments can be submitted by April 15, 2017.

Grass Carp Present in St. Lawrence River
Through environmental DNA analyses, the Quebec Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks has confirmed the presence of grass carp in the St. Lawrence River and some of its tributaries.  In response, the Ministry plans to establish cleaning practices for small boats, improve management of water in fishponds, and focus on the management of dams and fishways to limit the spread.  As of April 1, 2017, the Ministry will also prohibit the use of live baitfish in Quebec during the winter, recognizing that the baitfish trade and use of baitfish are both vectors for the introduction of aquatic invasive species.  To learn more, please click here.
Events & Webinars
Americana 2017
Environmental forum and international trade show for the exchange of knowledge and practical experience
March 21-23, 2017
Montreal, Quebec
To learn more and register:
Webinar: Public-Private Partnerships, Green Infrastructure, and Private Delivery/Financing
Join the Cities Initiative as it hosts ECT and Corvias Solutions to provide insight from a recently released report about P3s and large-scale green infrastructure in the Great Lakes basin.

Thursday, March 23, 2017
11:00am Central - noon Central/Noon Eastern - 1:00pm Eastern
Click here to register.

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:
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.

Funding Opportunities
United States
Great Lakes Sediment and Nutrient Reduction Program
Grants provided under this program will focus on reducing sediment and phosphorus runoff into the Great Lakes.
Applications Due March 31, 2017 at 6:00pm Eastern

For the Request for proposal and to apply, click 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 Montr éal , Qu é bec.  Please visit  to register and for more information.  Register and book your hotel room soon as space is limited!

US Water Prize Nominations Open
Awarded on an annual basis, the US Water Prize celebrates outstanding achievement in the advancement of sustainable solutions to our nation's water challenges.  Winners of the 2017 US Water Prize will be recognized and announced during the Water Prize Ceremony at the 2017 One Water Summit in New Orleans, June 27-29. Nominations are due March 8, 2017. More information about the nomination process can be found at

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