Welcome to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative

Message from Chair Walter Sendzik to our 2021 AGM Attendees

On behalf of our organization, I would like to thank you for being a part of  this year’s Annual General Meeting (AGM).  Your continued partnership and support are extremely valuable.

By lending your voice to the cause of strengthening the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River, both environmentally and economically, you have helped us move the ball forward on a number of important initiatives.

This year’s AGM was a tremendous success. Close to 200 participants joined us for two days of sessions representing communities in Ontario, Quebec and the United States. Our speakers included Erin Brockovich, former Prime Minister Mulroney, Administrator Regan from the U.S. EPA and many more.

This year’s theme, “Climate Change-2021 and Beyond, Preparing our Communities for the Future”, was well received.  Many mayors commented on how useful our programming was in their efforts to prepare for the impacts of climate change.

Thank you again for your help in this endeavor.


Mayor Walter Sendzik, St. Catharines, Ontario
Chair, The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative

Recognizing Cities Initiative's 25th Anniversary

2021 Virtual Annual General Meeting – Presentations by Senator Dick Durbin, The Honorable Brenda Mallory, The Honourable David Piccini, M.P.P. and The Honourable Chantal Rouleau, M.N.A.

Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative concludes highly successful virtual annual meeting

CHICAGO, August 26, 2021 — The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative's two-day virtual meeting concluded today, seeing record attendance from regional Mayors, and impactful presentations from a number of governmental and environmental leaders.  Read more.

Mayors call for $2 billion over the next five years to combat coastal damages from climate change

Great Lakes communities to spend $2 billion combatting climate change

Great Lakes region needs about $2B for flood repairs

Cities along the Great Lakes Face Rising Water and Costs

Coastal damage along Lake Michigan will cost Illinois communities over $600 million to fix thanks to climate change

Survey Finds $2B in Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Coastline Repairs in Coming Years

Climate change already impacting communities on Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River

We welcome our new Chair of the Board of Directors

Mayor Walter Sendzik of St. Catharines, Ontario.  We look forward to protecting the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River under his guidance.

Congressional Briefing on Water Equity Funding Priorities for Great Lakes Cities

On April 29, 2021, the Cities Initiative’s Mayor's Commission on Water Equity convened a briefing for Members of Congress and staff to present a suite of funding priorities to strengthen water equity for Great Lakes cities (see the funding priorities here). The Commission’s key message was that Congress has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to ensure every American has safe, reliable water and wastewater services. A complete recording of the briefing is below along with remarks from mayors from Flint, Mich., Detroit, Mich., and Milwaukee, Wisc.

One thing we know is this:
Lead is a danger to everyone

The Need for Action on Lead in Water 
Mayor Sheldon Neeley, Flint, Mich.

There probably isn’t anything in this country
funded more inequitably than water

The Challenges of Water Affordability
Mayor Mike Duggan, Detroit, Mich

Building a labor pipeline to rebuild our water lines;
Creating jobs by addressing our water infrastructure challenges

Water Workforce Development Opportunities
Mayor Tom Barrett, Milwaukee, Wisc.

Recording of Complete Briefing

2020 Initiatives – U.S. and Canada

It has been a busy and productive year for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative. The Cities Initiative has been fully engaged in a number of initiatives to benefit our member Cities.  Please view our 2020 Report Card to see all of the important programs we are working on.

Priorities for Advancing Recovery and Revitalization for Great Lakes Cities – 2021 U.S. Federal Priorities for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative

March 2021 – On behalf of its nearly 100 member mayors, the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative calls on Congress and the Biden Administration to provide economic relief for struggling cities and support critical water resources.   Read more.

House Oversight and Reform Committee Passes Legislation for Federal Revenue Replacement Funds for our Cities

February 2021 – As many of you know, The Cities Initiative has been actively advocating for federal revenue replacement funds for our cities. The impact of the COVID-19 crisis has been devastating to our communities and the financial stability of many local governments hangs in the balance.

The House Oversight and Reform Committee has passed legislation for federal revenue replacement funds for our cities. The next step is for the legislation to be passed by the full House of Representatives, which is expected next week. With House passage anticipated, the focus now turns to the Senate, where unanimous support from Democrats will be needed for final passage.  Read more.

Stimulus Water Restoration Initiative – A campaign to bring stimulus funding to your municipality

On July 6, 2020, the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative will be launching the campaign to advocate for financial resources to address these needs and ensure your city can receive stimulus funds to put your citizens back to work and to improve your community and the water basin.  View the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative website for information on how you and your council can build support for investments in water infrastructure and coastal resilience.

Don't forget Great Lakes in the stimulus package, group tells Congress

Tom Henry, The Blade
September 7, 2020

The Chicago-based Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative is making a special plea to Congress for communities within the Great Lakes watershed to get more help delivering clean, healthy water as the coronavirus pandemic continues.  Read more.

Eager to head back to the lakefront?

Patrick M. O'Connell, Chicago Tribune
June 19, 2020

Lake nearing record high: “The lake is nearly 3 feet higher than usual and approaching the historical high, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.”  Read more.