November 15, 2016
Welcome Georgian Bluffs, Ontario and Thorold, Ontario!
Please join us in welcoming our newest members to the Cities Initiative, His Worship Alan Barfoot, Mayor of the Township of Georgian Bluffs, Ontario and His Worship Ted Luciani, Mayor of Thorold, Ontario! Welcome!
Ontario Drainage Strategy Receives Funding
A collaborative effort between the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative and the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, along with other stakeholders, was recently awarded funding by Canada's Growing Forward 2 grant program. The Ontario Drainage Strategy project secured
$203,000 for the first year of operations. This amount will be matched with $100,000 from participating organizations. The Ontario Drainage Strategy project aims to
develop a farmland water management and drainage strategy to reduce phosphorus loss in to the Thames River Basin. To learn more about the project, please contact Nicola Crawhall at
State of Michigan Designates Portion of Lake Erie "Impaired"
The State of Michigan designated a portion of the western basin of Lake Erie as "impaired" under the Federal Clean Water Act
due to extensive algal blooms caused by excessive levels of phosphorous.
The impaired designation resulted from
shoreline monitoring and cyanobacterial bloom analyses by satellite imagery of the West Lake Erie Basin. The designation supports the need for the goals established by the Western Basin of Lake Erie Collaborative Agreement, signed in June 2015, by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, Premier Kathleen Wynne of the Province of Ontario, and Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor of Ohio. The Collaborative Agreement acknowledges the importance of nutrient reductions necessary to improve and protect Lake Erie's water quality. It established the goal of a 40 percent reduction of total phosphorus loads to Lake Erie by 2025, with an interim goal of a 20 percent reduction by 2020. The state of Ohio has resisted designating their portion of Lake Erie as "impaired".
EPA Assists with Long-term Stormwater Planning
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a package of tools to help communities plan long-term strategies for managing stormwater pollution. EPA has released a step-by-step guide to help communities develop long-term stormwater plans, a web-based toolkit for the planning process, and technical assistance for five communities (Burlington, Iowa, Chester, Pennsylvania, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Rochester, New Hampshire, and Santa Fe, New Mexico) to develop plans as national models. Comprehensive, long-term plans can guide smart investments by tying together multiple community objectives like street improvements, outdoor open spaces, greenways or recreation areas, as well as community revitalization. For more information:
EPA EJ 2020 Action Agenda Released
The EPA today released the Environmental Justice 2020 Action Agenda (EJ 2020), the Agency's environmental justice strategic plan for 2016 to 2020. EJ 2020 will further integrate environmental justice considerations in all of the Agency's programs, strengthen EPA's collaboration with partners, and demonstrate progress on significant national challenges facing minority and low-income communities. The EJ 2020 Action Agenda has three overarching goals:
- Deepen environmental justice practice within EPA programs to improve the health and environment of overburdened communities.
- Work with partners to expand our positive impact within overburdened communities.
- Demonstrate progress on critical national environmental justice challenges
Canadian Government Releases Microbeads Regulations
in the official Canada Gazette posted on November 5, 2016 established a ban on plastic microbeads beginning January 1, 2018. The announcement
serves as the final notice on the complaint and sets a timetable for the phased ban of microbeads.
This notice comes after the Canadian government declared microbeads to be toxic substances under the Canada Environmental Protection Act last June. For more information and the full product-specific timetable,
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 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.
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