NEMWI Hosts Webinar on Great Lakes Resiliency Issues

The Northeast-Midwest Institute hosted a webinar focusing on Great Lakes resiliency efforts at both the federal and state levels. To watch a recording of the webinar, please visit here.

The Great Lakes region is experiencing record flooding events which have adversely impacted the region’s economy and quality of life.  With continued record high water levels due to increased rain events across the region, the region continues to focus on new strategies to make communities more resilient. These record high water levels, and associated chronic erosion, have taxed existing aging infrastructure, some of which were designed almost a hundred years ago. Roads, bridges, wastewater and drinking water systems throughout the Great Lakes continue to be pushed beyond their original design purposes. With changing water patterns, warming lake temperatures, and other climate trends, extreme high and low lake levels look to be the norm for the foreseeable future.

In 2018, the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 authorized the Great Lakes Coastal Resiliency Study, which would be led by the U.S Army Corps of Engineers. This important study would begin to develop a coordinated strategy to manage and protect the Great Lakes and its coastline, and is supported by a diverse group of Great Lakes states, which have agreed to serve as the study’s non-federal sponsor. Additionally, the recently enacted Omnibus Appropriations and Coronavirus Relief Package included the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2020, which provided additional legislative language authorizing the Corps to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the resiliency of the Great Lakes System and make recommendations to respond to changing hydrologic and climatic conditions in the region.

Presenters:  The webinar included presentations from key Great Lakes stakeholder groups including:

  • Mr. Matthew McKenna, Director of the Great Lakes Washington Program, Northeast-Midwest Institute:
  • Mr. David F. Bucaro, P.E., Chief, Project Management Section, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Chicago District:
  • Mr. Mike Molnar, Deputy Director, Coastal States Organization:
  • Mr. Eric Brown, Senior Advisor for External Relations, Great Lakes Commission: