Welcome to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative
2021 Annual General Meeting – Registration Now Open!
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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
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.
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
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.
- July 8, 2021 – Great Lakes and St. Lawrence communities to spend nearly $2 billion over next five years combating coastal damages from climate change
- May 24, 2021 - Mayors Commission on Water Equity supports new legislation in Congress providing assistance for water utility bills
- April 29, 2021 - Mayors Commission on Water Equity asks Congress to invest $58 billion to create a cross-agency “Lead Safe Communities” fund
- April 20, 2021 - Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative Supports Budget 2021’s funding for Canada Water Agency and understanding the effects of Climate Change
- March 31, 2021 - Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative Supports Biden Infrastructure Plan
- March 10, 2021 - Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative applauds passage of Biden COVID relief package
- February 25, 2021 - Regional organizations support shared priorities for the Great Lakes
- December 15, 2020 - 150 mayors from across America’s heartland urge funding to support COVID-19 response
- December 4, 2020 - Waukegan mayor takes leading role on panel looking at quality, cost of Great Lakes Water
- November 16, 2020 – Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative Convenes Mayors Water Equity Commission
- September 23, 2020 - 150 U.S. Mayors Urge Congressional Leaders to Find Compromise on Stimulus Spending to Help Struggling Cities and Towns
- September 23, 2020 - Great Lakes Organizations Urge Congress to Include Great Lakes Priorities in WRDA Reauthorization
- September 2, 2020 - Detroit, Zion and Saint-Anicet join the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Initiative
- August 16, 2020 - Spotlight on the News: Sheboygan, WI Mayor and Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, Chair Michael Vandersteen
- August 6, 2020 – 200 U.S. Mayors Call for Emergency Fiscal Assistance for Municipal Governments in U.S. Senate CARES Stimulus Plan
- July 7, 2020: Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative calls for additional stimulus efforts to include water restoration priorities
- June 9, 2020 - Sheboygan, Wisconsin Mayor Mike Vandersteen elected chair of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative
- February 14, 2020 – Pre-Budget Consultations with the Government of Canada
- February 11, 2020 – Reaction to Presidential Budget