Welcome to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative

2021 Annual General Meeting – Registration Now Open!

Click on the image below for a message
from Chair Walter Sendzik on the AGM

The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) is back again and will be held virtually this year on August 25 and 26 (Half-Day Sessions). Our theme this year is “Climate Change – 2021 and Beyond.”

While the AGM will be held online, it will be interactive and collaborative.  Through the power of technology, you will have a chance to network with your colleagues, hear from political leaders, and exchange solutions to challenges facing Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities.  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


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.


Letter to House of Representative and Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and Transportation and Infrastructure

June 24, 2021  — As you know, federal investment in the infrastructure of the Great Lakes basin has greatly benefited the ecosystems and economies in our region. With the recent release of President Biden’s infrastructure investment plan, we are encouraged that the Biden Administration recognizes the impact that additional investment in the Great Lakes will have on communities throughout our region.  View letter.


Mayors Commission on Water Equity asks Congress to invest $58 billion to create a cross-agency “Lead Safe Communities” fund

$46 billion would be used to replace lead pipes and $12 billion to address other sources of lead

CHICAGO, April 29, 2021 – The Mayors Commission on Water Equity requests $58 billion to create a cross-agency “Lead Safe Communities” fund to support state programs to replace lead service lines and lead plumbing, fixtures, and paint in homes and schools.  Leading Great Lakes mayors presented this and other water equity funding priorities to Congressional leaders in a briefing held today.  Read press release.


Congressional Briefing on Water Equity Funding Priorities for Great Lakes Cities

On April 29, 2021 the Cities Initiative’s Mayors 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.


Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative supports Biden COVID relief package and urges quick approval by Congress

CHICAGO, January 19, 2021 – The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative supports the incoming Biden Administration’s COVID relief package, titled the American Rescue Plan, and applauds the financial assistance it will provide to struggling towns, villages, and cities.  View Press Release


Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative applauds agreement to advance Brandon Road project to stop Asian carp

CHICAGO, January 8, 2021 – The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative applauds the agreement between the State of Illinois and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to advance the Brandon Road project to stop Asian carp.   View Press Release.


Joint letter from Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative and Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative Mayors calling for urgently needed financial relief for cities and towns

December 15, 2020 – We are writing on behalf of nearly 150 mayors from across America’s heartland to implore you to pass a new COVID-19 package that includes urgently needed financial relief for cities and towns that have borne the brunt of the impact from the pandemic. With infections, hospitalizations, and deaths at unprecedented levels, and economic recovery stalling, our citizens are looking for immediate action from Washington.  View letter.


Joint letter from Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative and Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative Mayors calling for compromise on a COVID-19 package with financial relief for cities and towns

September 21, 2020 – We are writing on behalf of nearly 150 mayors from across America’s heartland to implore you to reach a compromise on a new COVID-19 package that provides urgently needed financial relief to cities and towns that have borne the brunt of the impact from the pandemic. Our citizens are looking for action from Washington and we urge you to come through in this time of need.   View letter.


URGENT – State Deadlines and Contacts for Applications Under FEMA’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities Program

View the pre-application/letter of intent deadlines for each state under the BRIC program.


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.

News