Mayors and state officials from Chicago to Toronto have been trickling into Marquette for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative’s annual conference.
The event provides the perfect platform for representatives to discuss issues regarding the region’s most invaluable resource – the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River. Together they make up approximately 20 percent of the world’s freshwater supply and provide drinking water for 40 million people.
It’s the first time in the convention’s ten-year history that the Upper Peninsula has played host to the momentous occasion.
“It’s a great honor to be hosting this conference with the city of Marquette. The Great Lakes Cities Initiative has over 100 U.S. and Canadian cities involved. We’ll have a lot of big cities represented here like Chicago, Milwaukee, and Toronto. But Marquette is one of the smaller cities and to be hosting it is, again, quite an honor,” remarked Carl Lindquist, Executive Director of the Superior Watershed Partnership.
Marquette has done their part to make the visiting municipalities feel right at home by hanging Canadian flags and wooden cutouts from all of the Great Lakes throughout the downtown district. Even though it may be the one of the smallest members of the initiative, officials from the Superior Watershed Partnership feel there is a lot to be gleaned from the conservation practices Marquette has employed.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to highlight some of the projects we’ve been doing with the city of Marquette and other communities, especially regarding climate adaption and watershed management; some of the practices that we’ve developed that are being replicated elsewhere,” Lindquist noted.
Ambassadors will tour the wide variety of waterfronts Marquette has to offer while discussing issues like Great Lakes tourism, economic sustainability, climate change, receding water levels, and shoreline development. The three-day conference runs through Friday.