Webinars and Presentations

As a part of many of its programs, the Cities Initiative offers webinars and online presentations. Find an archive of these sessions here.

Webinars 2023

Virtual Roundtable:  Next Steps for the Canada Water Agency (Canada Members)

November 23

Join the new Director General of the Canada Water Agency to learn about the agency’s mandate, the strengthened Freshwater Action Plan and how recent federal freshwater policies and programs can help your community and region’s shoreline, rivers, and lakes.

The Canada Water Agency has been created as the federal focal point for fresh water, working in partnership with Indigenous Peoples, provinces, territories, municipalities, and stakeholders to strengthen collaboration on fresh water. Legislation will be introduced in 2023 to establish the Canada Water Agency as a stand-alone Agency. The Canada Water Agency delivers on key elements of the strengthened Freshwater Action Plan to:

  • Restore, protect, and manage waterbodies of national significance
  • Improve freshwater quality

The Freshwater Action Plan builds on proven approaches to deliver regionally-responsive initiatives in waterbodies of national significance, including the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River.

The Canada Water Agency is leading the modernization of the Canada Water Act to reflect Canada’s freshwater reality, including climate change and the rights of Indigenous Peoples. It also supports the implementation of important initiatives such as the National Adaptation Strategy.

*The presentation will be in English, however questions and conversation can be in English or French.

Veronique Hiriart-Baer
, Director General, Freshwater Management, Canada Water Agency, Environment and Climate Change Canada

Leaders for Sustainable Change: 2023 Wege Project Winners

Thursday, September 21
View Webinar
View Presentation – Belleville
View Presentation – Tiny

This year, the Cities Initiative selected two Ontario communities for its annual Wege Award – the City of Belleville and the Township of Tiny. This award provides $7,500 to a Cities Initiative member city with a population of less than 100,000 with an innovative sustainability project that helps support the protection of our freshwater resources for future generations. Join us for this webinar to find out more about the two winning projects and how some of these solutions could be applied. Cities Initiative staff will also be on hand to answer questions about the Wege Award process.

Featured Speakers:

  • Amanda Azzopardi, Environmental Coordinator, City of Belleville
  • Bonita Desroches, Director of Recreation, Township of Tiny


Environmental Finance Centers: Accessing Technical Assistance for Water-Infrastructure Projects

Thursday, September 21
View Webinar

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides a combined $23.42 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund over five years, plus $15 billion for lead service line replacement, $5 billion for emerging contaminants in disadvantaged communities and $4 billion for PFAS in drinking water. In response, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) selected 29 Environmental Finance Centers (EFCs) to provide technical assistance to help communities evaluate their water-infrastructure needs and submit applications to finance identified projects via their respective State Revolving Funds or other U.S. EPA funding streams. The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative invites you to join us to learn about how your community may access technical assistance through the EFC mechanism. This webinar is co-hosted by the Cities Initiative’s Mayors Commission on Water Equity.

Moderator | Speakers:

  • Marcus Muhammad, Mayor of Benton Harbor, Michigan – Moderator
  • Mike McGee, Infrastructure Specialist, EPA
  • Bill Schleizer, CEO, Delta Institute
  • Denise Schmidt, Funding Navigator Director, EPIC
  • Paula Conolly, Director of Local Engagement & Senior Advisor for Distributed Infrastructure, US Water Alliance


Putting People First: Local Climate Solutions that Maximize Public Benefit

Thursday, May 18, 2023
View Webinar

Climate change effects in the Great Lakes region – coastal erosion, flooding, degraded water quality, and more – are expected to intensify and accelerate in the coming years. As cities implement local adaptation measures to address these challenges, how can they maximize benefits to the public? Join us for a webinar as we consult leaders across the region on holistic approaches to climate solutions. The webinar will highlight some of the benefits and challenges of nature-based climate projects, taking a deeper dive into what these solutions can look like and what they offer cities and their residents. We will be tackling topics like community engagement, economic opportunities, engineering examples, and immediate and long-term benefits of solutions that put people first. 

Moderator | Speakers

  • Andrea Matrosovs, Mayor of the Town of the Blue Mountains, Ontario – Moderator
  • Harriet Festing, Executive Director, Anthropocene Alliance
  • Iyana Simba, City Programs Director at Illinois Environment Council
  • Vidya Balasubramanyam, Program Director with the Coastal States Organization
  • Mark Wagstaff, Senior Waterfront Engineer & Principal at SmithGroup
  • John Bratton, Senior Science Officer at LimnoTech in Ann Arbor, Michigan

The Great Lakes Coastal Resiliency Study: Engaging Municipal Stakeholders

Thursday, April 20, 2023
View Presentation
View Webinar

The Great Lakes Coastal Resiliency Study (GLCRS) is intended to help Great Lakes communities withstand, recover, and adapt to climate change and extreme weather events by assessing vulnerabilities, identifying solutions, and proposing a plan to guide further investments in coastal resilience along the 5,200 miles of U.S. shoreline. Now that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the eight Great Lakes states have signed a cost-share agreement and completed initial scoping, it is time for affected communities to begin engaging with USACE in order to contribute their perspectives to the study. The Cities Initiative and our Mayors Commission on Coastal Resilience invite you to join us on this webinar with USACE to receive a GLCRS update and learn more about opportunities to provide stakeholder input.


  • David Bucaro, Chief of Planning, Chicago District, USACE
  • Mike Padilla, Project Manager, Chicago District, USACE

Cities Initiative’s 2023 Canadian and U.S. Federal Priorities for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Basin

Thursday, March 23, 2023
The Cities Initiative invites you to participate in a webinar on our 2023 Canadian and U.S. Federal Priorities for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Basin. These priorities – which include recommendations regarding the Canada Water Agency, the Great Lakes Coastal Resiliency Study, and other key policy issues – are the culmination of regular consultations with our Board of Directors and broader membership over the previous 12 months. Please join our policy experts on this webinar to learn more about our 2023 priorities and discuss next steps for advancing our policy agenda in Ottawa and Washington in the year ahead.


  • Travis Wheeler, Chief Policy Officer, Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative
  • Phil Murphy-Rhéaume, Canada Policy Director, Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative
Webinars 2022

International Joint Commission Seeking Input from Cities Initiative Members on Great Lakes Water Quality

December 8, 2022
View Presentation

Join the Cities Initiative for an exclusive opportunity to provide the International Joint Commission (IJC) with your reflections on governments’ progress to restore, protect and enhance the water quality of the Great Lakes.

Preparing your Grant Applications for Infrastructure

September 1, 2022
View Presentation

Join the Cities Initiative with special guests Ailsa McCulloch and Heidi Peper from Stantec’s North American Funding Program for an interactive one-hour session on preparing a successful grant application for water infrastructure project funding. Mayors, staff, and community partners welcome. The session will begin with an overview of current opportunities available in the US and Canada and grant-writing tips for success in both countries. Participants will then be invited into country-specific breakouts to take a deeper dive on best practices for both the US and Canada.


  • Alisa McCulloch, Canada West Lead, North American Funding Program
  • Heidi Peper, Senior Associate & US East Lead, North American Funding Program

Next Steps for Water Equity:  Ensuring Equitable Implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

May 26, 2022
The Bipartisan infrastructure Law provides more than $50 billion for water infrastructure, presenting a historic opportunity for Great Lakes cities to modernize aging water systems, remove lead water lines, and manage stormwater and reduce urban flooding. Ensuring this funding is administered in an equitable manner is an urgent priority. The webinar will feature speakers from federal and state agencies who will discuss plans for assisting cities in accessing water infrastructure funding, including technical assistance for small or disadvantaged cities. It will also showcase one city’s successful program to remove lead water lines.

  • Jonathan Nelson, Senior Advisor for Technical Assistance and Community Outreach, Office of Water, U.S. EPA
  • Katrina Kessler, Commissioner, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
  • Jake Pawlak, Deputy Mayor and Director, Office of Management and Budget, City of Pittsburgh and previous Senior Manager for the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, which has replaced 8,883 public lead lines and 5,846 private lead lines since 2016

University of Michigan Graduate Students Present Research Findings on Resiliency Resources

April 28, 2022
View Presentation

Over the past year, graduate students from the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS) have been conducting research to better understand coastal resilience needs and resources in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Basin. The students interviewed resources providers, mayors, and municipal staff across the basin and will be presenting their findings and outcomes during this webinar. This research was jointly supported by the Cities Initiative and our partners at NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management.

Canada’s Federal Budget 2022 – What’s in it for cities and freshwater?

April 19, 2022
View Webinar

The federal budget will be presented on April 7. Find out what commitments Government of Canada is making to support cities, invest in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River and improve freshwater quality.

Cities Initiative’s U.S. and Canadian Federal Policy Priorities for 2022

March 31, 2022
View Webinar

Each year, the Cities Initiative compiles its policy priorities for both the US and Canadian federal governments. These priorities serve as the foundation for discussions with policymakers and collaboration with other Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River stakeholders. Learn about our 2022 priorities and what steps we have taken and will be taking to move these policy, program and funding recommendations forward.

Matt Doss
, U.S. Policy Director, Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative
Phil Murphy-Rhéaume, Canada Policy Director, Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative

What Environmental Justice Means for Cities

March 3, 2022
View Webinar

With municipalities on the frontlines of managing environmental outcomes for their residents, they are increasingly being called on to support environmental justice movements at the local level. We’ll look at how – and why – different environmental movements are approaching local councils to adopt motions in support of environmental justice. This webinar will also review what these motions mean for municipal administrations and their residents.

View Presentation:
Liz Kirkwood, Executive Director, FLOW (For Love of Water)
Kayley Laura Lata, Public Affairs Advisor, Observatoire international des droits de la Nature

Webinars 2021

Funding your Water Projects in the Post-COVID Economy

Thursday, December 16
View Presentation
View Webinar

This webinar will review funding available from the federal government to assist our cities in rebuilding our water infrastructure.

Keeping your Water Clean for a Stronger Fishing Industry

Thursday, November 18
As a waterfront city, commercial and recreational fishing make up a vital component of the local economy and the wellbeing of our environment. Learn how to protect important habitat to sustain a healthy fishery and vibrant fishing economy for your community.


View Webinar

View Presentations
Titus Seilheimer, Ph.D., Fisheries Specialist, Wisconsin Sea Grant
Paris Collingsworth, Assistant Research Professor, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University and Great Lakes Ecosystem Specialist, Illinois Indiana Sea Grant

Leveraging your Waterfront to Transition your Economy

Thursday, October 7 – Your waterfront is a valuable asset. Join us for a discussion on how you can further develop this precious asset to grow your economy.
View Webinar

View Presentations
Jim Filby WilliamsDirector of Parks, Properties and Libraries at City of Duluth
Aaron Barter, Director of Innovation and Sustainability at Waterfront Toronto
Kevin KimmesU.S. Sector Leader, Municipal Clients at Stantec

American Rescue Plan Act

Thursday, June 17 – The American Rescue Plan Act allocates funding for cities, towns, and villages to get relief during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, many communities are still unsure about how to access these funds. Please join us for a discussion on ways for communities to access and utilize available funds.
View Webinar

View Presentation

Progress in Addressing PFAS Contamination in our Waterways

April 29, 2021 – PFAS and related compounds are man-made chemicals that are persistent in the environment and the human body. There is evidence that exposure to PFAS can affect human health. Please join us for a discussion of how the U.S. and Canadian governments are addressing PFAS monitoring, regulation, and clean-up efforts.

View Webinar

Priorities For Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities in the Upcoming Session of Parliament (Canada)

March 22, 2021 – This webinar will review the Cities Initiative’s Canadian federal priorities and prospects for advancing them in the upcoming session of Parliament. French interpretation will be provided.
View presentation


The Future of the Cruise Industry on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River (English)

February 11, 2021 – How are municipal governments charting a course to create new tourism opportunities after the COVID-19 crisis?
View Presentation

Webinars 2020

Rising Water Levels in the Great Lakes – Great Lakes St. Lawrence Cities Initiative

May 7, 2020
Water levels in the Great Lakes and St Lawrence. Presented by the International Joint Commission(IJC).

This webinar has already passed, watch the video recording.


Action Plan 2030

May 21, 2020
The result of 18 months of consultations, the action plan makes recommendations to the Federal and Provincial Governments that support local action to improve water quality, stop erosion, and reduce pollution in your community.

This webinar has already passed, watch the video recording.


Erosion and Flooding (English)

June 4, 2020
Participation by Stantec
View Webinar

Erosion and Flooding mitigation best practices and lessons learned from shoreline communities along the Great Lakes and St Lawrence.



Stimulus Water Restoration Initiative:  A Campaign to Bring Stimulus Funding to Your Municipality

June 25, 2020
View Webinar

As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, the U.S. government is contemplating stimulus packages to restart our economies and to put citizens back to work.

The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative will be launching a Stimulus Water Restoration Initiative to advocate for financial resources to address water infrastructure 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. Please attend this lunchtime webinar to learn about how you can participate in this effort.


Water Infrastructure Projects – How to Fund Your Projects and Optimize your Debt Structure (English)

July 23, 2020
Participation by Stantec
View Webinar

Providing clean water is the most important service you provide to your citizens.  Your community is in need of important water infrastructure improvements.  Hear from the experts and your colleagues on how you can get your water infrastructure off the ground in today’s difficult economic environment.


Microplastics:  A Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Update (English)

September 24, 2020
View Webinar

Microplastics are created when larger plastic pieces enter the marine environment and are subsequently broken into particles of less than 5mm in diameter by wind, waves and solar radiation. Microplastics are endangering the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence and the animals that inhabit these waters. Please attend this lunchtime webinar to get an update on this effort and find out how your municipality can help eliminate this pollutant.


A New Funding Opportunity to Address Coast Erosion, Flooding and Other Hazards

October 2, 2020
Participation by Stantec
View Webinar
FEMA Fact Sheet

This webinar will review funding available under the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) pre-disaster mitigation program. FEMA has released a funding announcement for $500 million for mitigation projects and capability and capacity-building activities, with applications due Jan. 29, 2021.

Technical experts will review requirements under the BRIC program and how to develop strong proposals. The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative will discuss options for supporting its member cities in developing proposals to submit for funding under the BRIC program.


Asian Carp – A Danger to the Great Lakes (English)

October 22, 2020
View Webinar
View Presentations

Four species of Asian Carp threaten the health of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence ecosystem and its fisheries. Asian Carp were imported to North America for aquaculture and have since escaped into the Mississippi, Illinois, and other rivers due to flooding. For 20 years the Asian Carp have made their way to the edge of the Great Lakes, destroying habitats and denuding our fish population threatening a $5.8 trillion regional economy, including the $7 billion commercial, recreational and tribal fisheries.

The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative has consistently emphasized the danger of Asian Carp and called for urgent action to address the threat. Delays in taking action have allowed for the threat to consistently increase the dangers to our region. Come to our lunchtime webinar to find out the status of our efforts.


That Green Stuff on the Great Lakes: Algae (Cladophora) Bloom  (English)

November 19, 2020
Participation by TruGreen
View Webinar
View Presentations

The Great Lakes are battling an algae outbreak. Algae have always existed in the Lakes but there has recently been a resurgence of nuisance species (Cladophora). The growth of Cladophora increases significantly during the summer months suggesting that warmer temperatures encourage its growth. Come to our lunchtime webinar and get an update on the situation facing our water basin.

Resilient Municipalities Webinar Series 2018/19


September 26, 2018 @ 11:00 am central/noon eastern
Presented by GEI Consultants

Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative members have to do more with less in an age of increased flooding, budget cuts, and pressure to attract jobs while reinvesting in open space and other assets for a vibrant quality of life. The first webinar in the Cities Initiative’s 2018-2019 series will be
Primed Places = Prime Places, presented by experts at GEI Consultants Ltd, to provide municipal leaders with a method for tackling these and other stresses by building community resilience through green infrastructure and similar approaches.

This webinar has already passed, watch the video recording.



October 24, 2018 @ 11:00 am central/noon eastern
Presented by the Great Lakes Commission and Credit Valley Conservation Authority

Local communities are generally at the forefront of stormwater management, challenges, and innovation, but municipalities’ capacity to develop green infrastructure (GI) is heavily influenced by federal, state, and provincial policy. This webinar will summarize federal, state, and provincial policies in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence basin that promote or hinder GI and provide recommendations to create enabling conditions for communities to implement GI.

This webinar has already passed, watch the video recording.



November 14, 2018 @ 11:00 am central/noon eastern
Presented by the Delta Institute

Experts at the Delta Institute, a nonprofit aimed at collaborating with communities to address environmental issues, will speak on green infrastructure related resources and tools that can be used in resource-strapped communities interested in taking steps on adaptation. Delta Institute will provide examples from their work in Gary, Hobart and Michigan City.

This webinar has already passed, watch the video recording.



Thursday, February 21 2019 @11:00 am central/noon eastern
In partnership with the Mayors Innovation Project

The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative and the Mayors Innovation Project are hosting a webinar to provide an overview of financing needs and existing/emerging options for water and stormwater infrastructure for municipalities. Over the last four decades, financing of water infrastructure has drastically changed so far as the source of the money: from primarily federal funding to primarily local and state funding. Especially in light of climate related meteorological changes, the investment gap between what is needed and what is available, continues to grow. To find out more and view the presenters, click register now.

This webinar has already passed, watch the video recording. See below for the panelist presentations.

  1. Sanjiv Sinha, VP – ECT and Director – P3GreatLakes.org
    Presentation: Financing Climate Resilient Water Infrastructure
  2. Eric Letsinger, CEO – Quantified Ventures
    Environmental Impact Bonds
  3. Cherian George, Managing Director – Fitch Ratings and Member – Forbes’ National Infrastructure Council
    Financing Infrastructure in the 21st Century
Annual Meeting & Conference 2018

Keynote Speaker 1: Dan Egan

Dan Egan, Fellow, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, School of Freshwater Sciences
Watch here the video of Dan Egan in conversation with Dave Ullrich.

Panel 1: Resilience Solutions for Flooding and Extreme Weather

John Dickert, Former Mayor of Racine and President/CEO of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative.
1. John Dickert Presentation

Bill Schleizer, President and CEO of Delta Institute
2. Bill Schleizer Presentation

Claudia Verno, Director of Policy, Insurance Bureau of Canada
3. Claudia Verno Presentation

Panel 2: Municipal Liability Related to Extreme Weather

Teresa Chan, Senior Attorney, Environmental Law Institute
1. Teresa Chan Presentation

Brian Kelly, Manager of Sustainability, Region of Durham
2. Brian Kelly Presentation

Panel 3: Coastal Resilience Solutions for Shoreline Municipalities

Mayor Marc Parent, Mayor of Rimouski
1. Marc Parent Presentation

Julie Kinzelman, Research Scientist, City of Racine
2. Julie Kinzelman Presentation

Mike Donahue, Vice President of Water Resources and Environmental Services, AECOM
3. Mike Donahue Presentation

Cameron Davis and Peter Ventin

Cameron Davis and Peter Ventin, Vice Presidents, GEI Consultants

To view this presentation, please contact Jane Eagleton at jane.eagleton@glslcities.org.

Panel 4: Tech Solutions for Climate Resilience

Lance Watkins, Science Systems and Applications, Inc. NASA DEVELOP Center Lead
1. Lance Watkins Presentation

Loch McCabe, Founder, Energy Emissions Intelligence, LLC, and project team member of the American Water Works Association Water Utility for Energy Change
2. Loch McCabe Presentation


Annual Meeting & Conference 2017
Webinar: Great Lakes & St. Lawrence Budget in U.S. and Canada
Webinar: Public-Private Partnerships, Green Infrastructure, and Private Delivery/Financing
Annual Meeting & Conference 2016

Playlist: All 2016 Keynotes and Panels

Panel 1: Safe Drinking Water in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Basin

Special Presentation: Climate Change and Coral Reefs, Doon McColl, Churchill Fellow

Panel 2: Climate Change Adaptation, Mitigation and Innovation

Panel 3: Lake Erie Algae Updates, Programs and Impacts on Municipalities

Panel 4: Municipal Green Urbanism and Sustainability Initiatives

Special Presentation: NASA-DEVELOP Program

Great Lakes Ecological Forecasting – Phragmites Habitat: Sean McCartney, NASA Develop National Program

Panel 5: Control Solutions for Phragmites

Integrated Water Management Webinar Series


Annual Meeting & Conference 2015


Nutrient Action Collaborative: Solutions to Protect Drinking Water

Oil Transportation in the Great Lakes Region

Shoreline Restoration and Economic Activity: Challenges and Opportunities

Cities Initiative in the Community: Pilot Projects

Cities Initiative in the Community: Student Project Presentations



Annual Meeting & Conference 2014
Annual Meeting & Conference 2013
Annual Meeting & Conference 2012
Annual Meeting & Conference 2011
Annual Meeting & Conference 2010

Frozen Pipes Teleconference: Thursday, May 27th, 2015

  • Kerri Marshall, City of Thunder Bay, and Paul Clements, City of Toronto, provided information about how their cities responded to the increase in calls about frozen water pipes during Winter 2015. A discussion among attendees followed.
  • Presentations begin at 5:22

Additional Frozen Pipes Resources:

Water Conservation Framework
Stormwater Management
Municipal Adaptation and Resiliency Service (MARS)