Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative

Mayors Protecting and Restoring the Great Lakes & St. Lawrence River


Exploring Health and Social Impacts of Climate Change in Toronto

Over the coming decades, climate change in Toronto is expected to be characterized by more extreme weather events including extreme heat and severe rainstorms. This report provides an overview of potential health impacts identified in the published research including: more illness and death from extreme heat, poor air quality, and vector-borne disease; more injury and illness arising from flooding of homes and businesses; and impacts on mental health.

Case Book: The Harms Caused by Low Water Levels in Georgian Bay

The Case Book puts a face on the harm as seen in almost every community around the Bay. While these reports are not a complete picture, they provide evidence of the impact and insight into solutions that will help alleviate the problems facing communities. These reports are intended to shape public debate and assist the mayors of Georgian Bay in successfully obtaining assistance in the near term from both Federal and Provincial levels of government.

Preparing for Variable Lake Levels: The Dynamic Great Lakes

With more than 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, lake levels have a huge impact on Michigan’s coastal communities and economies. Lake levels affect coastal properties and infrastructure, as well as plant and wildlife habitat. They also affect shipping, recreation and manufacturing.

Stormwater Strategies: Cities Prepare Aging Infrastructure for Climate Change

Although managers typically think first of the effects on drinking water supplies, many are realizing that their wastewater systems (the focus of this article) also will be keenly affected, with profound potential consequences for public health. In many places, these systems are already under strain from population growth, development, underfunding, and maintenance backlogs. At a time when North American cities are just beginning to assess what altered weather patterns may bring, a handful, such as Toronto, have committed to upgrading their wastewater systems with climate change in mind.

Stormwater Management in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Basin: Cities Charting the Way Forward

A presentation on the stormwater management in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Basin: theory, survey results and examples of good practices.

Beaches Workshop Materials

In April 2010, the Cities Initiative hosted a Great Beaches workshop in Ontario. All presentations from the workshop are included here. Topics included the Blue Flag program, Southern Georgian Bay Initiative, Great Lakes Coastal Environmental Scan, Beach Health in Ontario, Wasaga Beach and Ontario Parks, beaches in the City of Toronto, the Ontario Provincial Trails Strategy, Promoting Great Lakes Beaches and Coasts, and Grand Bend/Lambton Shores Beaches.

All Presentations

Preparing for the Impacts of Climate Change on Stormwater and Floodplain Management – A Preview of Adaptation Plans and Practices

This study aims to summarize what has been done to date in adapting stormwater and floodplain management practices to prepare for the impacts of climate change, both in Canada and elsewhere. The specific focus of this review was on identifying adaptative approaches to the planning and design of stormwater management and drainage infrastructure, as well as changes in land use and floodplain management practices to account for the potential impact of climate change on drainage infrastructure and flood vulnerable areas.

Urban Stormwater Management in the United States

This report on stormwater management from the National Research Council clarifies the mechanisms by which the pollutants present in stormwater affect the environment, defines the elements of a protocol linking the pollutants to ambient water quality criteria and studies how can monitoring help determine the level a discharge is potentially polluting water and assess a stormwater management plan.

In PDF is the prepublication version. You can have a free access to the published document (PDF) here:

Great Lakes Coastal Wetland Communities: Vulnerabilities to Climate Change and Response to Adaptation Strategies

A collaborative research project that assessed the vulnerability to climate change of wetlands in the Great Lakes area. The report explores human-directed adaptations and responses to climate change.