International Joint Commission Sustainable Cities, Healthy Watersheds

2007 Great Lakes Conference Agenda

Friday, June 8, 2007 - Great Lakes Conference
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Science and policy sessions

1. Remedial Action Plans and Lakewide Management Plans: Contributions to Restoration and Examination of a Beneficial Use Impairment
Remedial efforts, particularly those for contaminated sediment and wastewater, can represent multi-million or multi-billion dollar investments. Industries and municipalities continue to make considerable contributions toward restoring water quality in the Areas of Concern (AOCs) and open waters of the Great Lakes. Significant, recent efforts from the municipal sector will be highlighted to serve as examples for remedial efforts both within and outside of the Great Lakes basin. Economic benefits which may be derived from sediment remediation will be examined. The beneficial use impairment concerning fish tumors or other deformities is critical to efforts devoted to restoring water quality in AOCs. Current science and policy issues related to this beneficial use impairment will be discussed.

2. Can invasive carp be stopped? Status of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal Electric Fish Dispersal Barrier
While sustainable cities may depend on waterborne transportation for efficient delivery of goods, such activities are also responsible for the unintentional delivery of invasive species. Scientists, policy makers and activists are increasingly recognizing aquatic invasive species, such as the Asian carp, as a top threat to the health of the Great Lakes ecosystem. In this session, key scientists and officials will examine the critical issues related to constructing and operating the electric fish dispersal barrier in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, assess potential impacts of a carp invasion and discuss possible long term options to prevent Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes basin ecosystem.

3. Sustainable Management of Groundwater Resources: Supply, Demand and Aquifer Protection
Groundwater is a major and often-overlooked component of the Great Lakes basin ecosystem. Many activities pose significant threats to groundwater quality and quantity: decaying urban infrastructure, leaking underground storage tanks, pesticide application, the proliferation of new wells and impervious surfaces, and large water uses. This session will elucidate approaches to groundwater supply, demand and protection in various Great Lakes jurisdictions and consider outstanding groundwater issues such as the challenge of maintaining instream flows as water uses increase.

4. Effective Urban Policy: Lessons for Sustainable Cities
Reports on recent planning achievements in the Chicago area and the Toronto-Hamilton (Golden Horseshoe) region of southern Ontario set the stage for this discussion of how planning efforts can help accommodate population growth while preserving environmental assets. In 2006, the American Planning Association (APA) named the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commissionís 2040 Regional Framework Plan as the national plan of the year. For 2007, the Ontario Growth Secretariatís Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe was recognized with the APAís Daniel Burnham Award for a Comprehensive Plan (the award is named for the author of the renowned 1909 Burnham Plan for Chicago). Presentations about these two award-winning planning efforts will highlight approaches that could be adopted elsewhere in the Great Lakes basin to protect water quality in the context of continuing urban development.

12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Conference Luncheon

1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Science and policy sessions

5. Deteriorating Sewer and Wastewater Treatment Infrastructure: A Challenge to Sustainability?
Collection and treatment of wastewater in the Great Lakes basin are important aspects of restoring and protecting water quality, particularly in urban and urbanizing areas. Maintenance and upgrading of collection and treatment systems in older urban centers represent a significant financial challenge. In particular, both conveyance losses and combined sewer overflows significantly impact water quality in the basin. Escalating costs have caused delays in completing infrastructure upgrades for sewage treatment plants and wastewater collection systems and have led some municipalities to consider alternative methods of upgrading and operating their systems. This session will examine the challenges and responses from proactive organizations.

6. Green Building and Sustainable Development: Measuring Success
This session will focus on the environmental and water quality benefits of green buildings in the public, commercial and industrial, and residential sectors through innovative case with measurable outcomes.

7. Protecting and Enhancing Human Health in our Urban Environments
Many people believe that a move to the suburbs provides a sanctuary from life stressors. However, this session brings to light the impacts of urban environments on our health. Significant, recent efforts from public health agencies and others will be highlighted to serve as examples to raise awareness of the public health issues within and outside the Great Lakes Basin.