The cities of Detroit (MI), Zion (IL), and Saint-Anicet (QC) have joined the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative.

“We look forward to working with these cities to ensure that the voice of local government is always part of the decision-making process for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence,” said Mike Vandersteen, chair of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative.  “We are also pleased to have Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino join our Board of Directors.”

The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative is a binational coalition of close to 100 U.S. and Canadian mayors and local officials working to advance the protection and restoration of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. The initiative and local officials integrate environmental, economic, and social agendas and sustain a resource that represents approximately 80 per cent of North America’s surface freshwater supply. It also provides drinking water for 40 million people and is the foundation upon which a strong regional economy is based.

Call for water resource priorities in upcoming stimulus programs

The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative is calling on U.S. and Canadian elected officials to include water resource priorities in any upcoming economic stimulus programs. In addition to economic stimulus, funding will help safeguard coastal resources. The funding will also mitigate future damage from erosion, flooding and severe storm events, outdated wastewater infrastructure, exposure to toxic pollutants in the water, as well as agricultural and urban runoff that feeds harmful algal.

“Investing in water infrastructure is one of the most cost-effective ways to stimulate economic activity,” said Mayor Michael Vandersteen, chair of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative. “Every job added in the water and wastewater industry is projected to create an additional 3.68 jobs in the national economy, and every million dollars in federal funding will generate $2.95 million in economic activity.”

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