Tentative Agenda

*Travel Note: Due to an all-conference trip to Niagara Falls on the last day, please plan departure travel accordingly. It is estimated that attendees will return from the Niagara Falls trip to the hotel at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday.


3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Exhibitor Set-Up
Check-in, Grand Foyer B


7:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.
Exhibitor Set-Up (7:00 a.m. – 8:30a.m.)
Check-in, Grand Foyer B

9:00 a.m. – 9:30am
Opening Remarks and Welcome to Buffalo
Grand Ballroom
The Honorable Paul A. Dyster, Mayor, Niagara Falls, USA

9:30 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.
Grand Ballroom

10:50 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Grand Foyer B

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Breakout Sessions
1. Plan 2014: An Update
Grand Ballroom G
The recently adopted lake level management plan for Lake Ontario will result in the largest wetland restoration in the nation outside of the Everglades. Learn how sound science and over a decade of advocacy led to this historic victory, and about the ongoing work to implement the plan in the face of climate change.

Lana Pollack, U.S. Chair, International Joint Commission @IJCSharedwaters
Jim Howe, Executive Director, The Nature Conservancy of Central & Western New York @Nature_NY
Bill Werick, U.S. member of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Adaptive Management Committee @IJCSharedwaters
David Klein, Senior Field Representative, The Nature Conservancy of Central & Western New York @Nature_NY

2. Engaging and Empowering Citizen Scientists
Grand Ballroom E
This workshop will provide an introduction to, and hands-on experience with, practical tools for (i) designing, carrying out and participating in citizen science projects, (ii) evaluating and complying with relevant laws and regulations, and (iii) identifying relevant technical standards regarding data collection, analysis, and compliance with scientific and quality standards.

Aladdine Joroff, Staff Atorney, Clinical Instructure and Lecturer, Harvard Law School, Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic @HarvardELP
Thomas Wolfe, Student, Harvard Law School ’19 @Harvard_Law

3. Restoring Areas of Concern Through NOAA Regional Partnerships
Regency Ballroom C
This presentation will review restoration projects coordinated by the Great Lakes Commission in Areas of Concern in two states and funded by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Regional Partnership program. These projects are enhancing riparian habitat, improving shorelines, managing invasive species, reducing erosion, and controlling sedimentation. Presenters will review completed and current projects, successes, and challenges overcome.

Eric Ellis, Senior Program Specialists, Great Lakes Commission @GLCommission
Heather Braun, Program Manager, Great Lakes Commission @HBraunA2 @GLCommission

4. Replicating Stormwater Best Management Practices in Different Geographies
Regency Ballroom B
Communities are urged to utilize land management best practices with little guidance as to how a contextualized approach is critical to success. In this session, practitioners will discuss lessons from recent projects, highlighting the importance of process, context, and community engagement as it relates to replication in diverse communities.

Moderator: Kathy Luther, Director of Environmental Programs, Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission @NIRPC
Eve Pytel, Director, Delta Institute @EGPytel @DeltaGreatLakes
Kathy Evans, Program Manager for Environmental Planning, West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission
Angela Larson, Community Planning Director, Alliance for the Great Lakes @A4GL
Mark Bouman, Chicago Region Director, Keller Science Action Center, Field Museum @FieldMuseum

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Grand Ballroom 

1:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.
Grand Foyer B

1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
Breakout Sessions
. Public Private Stewardship: Creating Resilient Communities
Grand Ballroom G
In May, SmithGroup JJR asked a panel of agency leaders, environmental advocates, consultants and researchers what they see for the future of green infrastructure and sustainable planning. This presentation will share findings from our discussions, engage participants in similar conversations and present trends for the changing landscape of sustainable planning.

Jason Stangland, Principal Landscape Architect, SmithGroupJJR @SmithGroupJJR
Emily McKinnon, Principal Civil Engineer, SmithGroupJJR @SmithGroupJJR

2. Economic Impacts of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
Grand Ballroom F
This session will describe a newly released study of the economic impacts of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Top economists from around the region analyzed key economic outcomes of initiative as phase I of a larger effort assessing the impact of Great Lakes water resources on the regional economy. Session leaders form the core team advising and leading this multi-year project.

Mike Shriberg, Great Lakes Regional Executive Director, National Wildlife Federation @mshriberg @NWFGreatLakes
Molly Flanagan, Vice President of Policy, Alliance for the Great Lakes @A4GL
Kathryn Buckner, President, Council of Great Lakes Industries @KA_Buckner
Heather Braun, Program Manager, Great Lakes Commission @HBraunA2 @GLCommission

3. Urban Water Issues are Everyone’s Water Issues
Grand Ballroom E
Urban water issues are often separated and addressed as issues of geography, race, and class. A panel of dynamic speakers will share their expertise and experience on water infrastructure issues in Detroit and Flint and demonstrate how these issues are not isolated incidents but an integral part of the water restoration and protection field.

Moderator: Hilliard Hampton, Associate Director of Urban Programs, Freshwater Future @FreshwaterFutur
Monica Lewis-Patrick, President and CEO, We the People of Detroit @WeThePeopleDet
Peter Hammer, Professor, Wayne State University Law School and Director, Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights @_WayneLaw
Mike Harris, Director of Youth Programs, Flint Development Center @FlintDC2017
Emily Kutil, Adjunct Professor of Architecture, University of Detroit @UDMDetroit

4. Success of the Little Fish
Regency Ballroom C
The small town of Kawkawlin is a blue collar, and primarily agricultural farming community.  They had a vision to restore their natural treasure – and found a way to do so through perseverance and determination.  Come and share in their success story and learn how you can do the same.

Tonya Lewandowski, Senior Associate Engineer, Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc. @ECTinc
David Bledsoe, Professor of Environmental Science, Delta College, and Restoration Committee Chairman, Kawkawlin River Watershed Association @DeltaCollege

5. On the Frontline: An Urban View from Women of Color
Regency Ballroom B
This workshop presents women of color practitioners offering a front line view of the latest trends, techniques, challenges and best practices for achieving conservation success in urban centers. Through the lens of gender and race, this interactive discussion will highlight the impact both has on our work. The solutions oriented panel will share ideas and best practices for engaging women, young people and communities of color while also creating partnerships, framing issues, planning and interpreting outcomes. From water quality, access and affordability to jobs, infrastructure and utilities, workshop participants will hear from expert women on the front lines of stewardship in the defense of our natural resources, community needs and public interest resources.

Moderator: Simone Lightfoot, National Director of Urban Initiatives, National Wildlife Federation @NWFGreatLakes
Rahwa Ghirmatzion, Deputy Director, PUSH Buffalo
Janae Davis, Doctoral Candidate, Clark University @ClarkUniversity

2:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Grand Foyer B

2:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Field Trips
Buses will depart from and return to the Huron Street entrance of the Hyatt Regency Buffalo
1. Buckhorn Island Habitat Restoration Complex
Hosted by Buffalo Audubon Society -$10

Buckhorn Island State Park just upstream from Niagara Falls contains diverse habitats and ecosystems in the terrestrial and aquatic realms. A visit to the park will introduce participants to the site, to restoration and monitoring projects (past, present and future) and the collaborative partnership engaged in the work.

2. Grazing Toward Healthy Soil and Clean Water
Hosted by Cornell Cooperative Extension – $10

Attendees will walk with dairy cows grazing in pastures, a sight that is disappearing from the Great Lakes landscape. The impact on pasture soil health and ultimately water quality will also be demonstrated with the use of a specially designed soil health trailer.

 3. Silo City: Past, Present and Future
Hosted by Explore Buffalo – $20

At ground level, experience the monumental scale of the grain elevators constructed in Buffalo in the first half of the twentieth century, and also see how they are now being repurposed. Explore the grounds and the impactful environmental projects throughout the once purely industrial complex.

4. Buffalo’s Outer Harbor, Our Collective Future
Hosted by Our Outer Harbor Coalition – $10

This field trip will focus on Buffalo’s Outer Harbor from Times Beach Nature Preserve to the Bell Slip. It will be led by community leaders associated with the Our Outer Harbor Coalition. This group has focused on protecting public space, promoting biodiversity, and recognizing the critical environmental integrity of this shoreline.

5. Narrating the Catalyst of Environmental Action
Hosted by Green Heron Productions – Grand Ballroom

 “Shifting Sands: On the Path to Sustainability” tells the story of how one region, where rare plants grow in the shadows of smokestacks, sparked a movement for a national park; a movement which eventually led to game-changing environmental policies with worldwide impact and unique partnerships on the path to a more sustainable world.

6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Dinner Reception Buffalo Riverworks
359 Ganson St., Buffalo, NY
Buses will depart from and return to the Huron Street entrance of the Hyatt Regency, Buffalo



7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.
Issue Breakfast
Grand Ballroom
Start your own issue table on a Great Lakes topic you’d like to discuss, or join an existing issue table. Breakfast is available for all, participation is optional.

8:30 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.
Opening Remarks
Grand Ballroom 

8:45 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Grand Foyer B

9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Breakout Sessions
1. Innovative Partnering in Michigan’s Largest Dam Removal
Grand Ballroom G
This workshop will challenge participants to recognize tribes or other ‘new’ partners who share common restoration goals. This workshop will illustrate how a community’s overall capacity for leading and financing restoration can be exponentially increased and diversified by involving key partners in new roles.

Moderator: Amy Beyer, Executive Director, Conservation Resource Alliance
Frank Dituri, Ecologist and Project Manager, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians
Jonathan Beard, Grant Manager, Great Lakes Fishery Trust
Carl Platz, Professional Engineer, Great Lakes Program Manager, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

2. State of the Great Lakes
Grand Ballroom F
Description and speakers to come.

3. Get the Lead Out
Grand Ballroom E
In the wake of Flint, communities across the Great Lakes region are facing the threat of lead in their drinking water – even in schools and child care facilities.  Participants will learn how lead gets into our drinking water, how it threatens our health, and how Great Lakes communities and activists are taking action to “get the lead out.”

John Rumpler, Clean Water Program Director, Environment America
Kasia Katarzyna, Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Environmental Health, University of Buffalo

4. Niagara River Corridor, Internationally Important Water
Regency Ballroom C
The Niagara River Corridor is an environmental treasure of unique ecological character, meeting all criteria for designation as an internationally important body of water under the Ramsar Convention. Designation can increase economic opportunities, tourism, and environmental appreciation. This workshop will show participants how designation could benefit the Great Lakes region.

Kim Diana Connolly, Professor of Law and Director, University at Buffalo School of Law Environmental Advocacy Clinic
Jajean Rose-Burney, Co-Chair, Bi-National Niagara River Corridor Ramsar Site Steering Committee
Heather Burley, Student Attorney, University of Buffalo School of Law Environmental Advocacy Clinic
Jacob Umoke, Student Attorney, University of Buffalo School of Law Environmental Advocacy Clinic

5. Interactions of Great Lakes Wildlife with Microplastics
Regency Ballroom B
This workshop will present recent research focused on the interaction of microplastic and organisms in the Great Lakes basin. Presentation topics include microplastic ingestion by forage fish in Lake Ontario, lab results from zooplankton microplastic ingestion, fish and other wildlife microplastic ingestion in Lake Michigan tributaries, and the relationship of the microbial community and microplastics in a Chicago River.

Moderator: Nate Drag, Water Project Manager, Alliance for the Great Lakes
Sherri Mason, Student, State University of New York – Fredonia
Heather Barrett, Student, State University of New York – Fredonia
Eric Hellquist, Student, State University of New York – Oswego
Scott Minihkeim, Student, State University of New York – Oswego
Tim Hoellein, Student, Loyola University Chicago

10:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.
Grand Foyer B

10:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
Breakout Sessions
1. Restoring Coastal Wetlands for Birds and Water
Grand Ballroom G
The fate of Great Lakes birds are intimately connected to the overall health of our wetland and water systems. Join the conversation and learn how Audubon is restoring coastal wetlands across the region for the benefit of birds and water quality.

Nat Miller, Director of Conservation, Audubon Great Lakes/National Audubon Society @AudubonSociety
Loren Smith, Executive Director, Buffalo Audubon Society @BuffaloAudubon

2. Crude Move in the Great Lakes Region
Grand Ballroom F
Understanding issues surrounding crude oil transportation in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River region has become a top priority. Learn about recent activities and progress related to crude oil transport science and management in binational waters, and be part of a discussion of longer term priorities for energy-related activities.

Moderator: Margaret Schneemann, Water Resource Economist, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant
Michele Leduc-Lapierre, Senior Program Specialist, Great Lakes Commission
Matthew Child, Physical Scientist, International Joint Commission

3. Grade Your State: Drinking Water Policies
Grand Ballroom E
The Great Lakes region is home to the worst drinking water infrastructure crises—poisonous lead in Flint, water shutoffs in Detroit, and toxic algal blooms in Toledo. It is time to make sure state policies and standards are “making the grade.” Come learn the latest research on state policies and how you can help in developing state report cards.

Katie Rousseau, Director, Clean Water Supply, Great Lakes, American Rivers
Oday Salim, Senior Attorney, Great Lakes Environmental Law Center

Monica Lewis-Patrick, President and CEO, We the People of Detroit

4. An Asian Carp Update: The Latest
Regency Ballroom C
Asian carp continue their march toward the Great Lakes. A silver carp was just found only 9 miles away from Lake Michigan. The Army Corps released a tentative plan to build new defenses to keep the carp out. Are they robust enough? Can they be implemented fast enough? What else needs to happen? A panel of experts will provide updates on the Asian carp threat and lead a discussion on where things should go to keep carp out of the Great Lakes.

John Dettmers, Great Lakes Fishery Commission
Tammy Newcomb, Senior Water Policy Advisor, Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Bill Bolen, U.S. EPA Senior Advisor and Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee Co-chair
Robert Hirschfeld, Water Policy Specialist, Prairie Rivers Network

11:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Grand Foyer B

11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Lunch and Plenary
Grand Ballroom 

1:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.
Grand Foyer B

1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
Breakout Session
1. Collaborating Well to Change the World
Grand Ballroom G
Learn key concepts and how to apply them for effective cross-organizational collaboration, whether working within traditional ally or cross-sector collaborations. How organizations work together makes (or breaks) projects/campaign success.  Understand and practice techniques that build on strengths, remove barriers and increase project impact when working with others.

Jill Ryan, Executive Director, Freshwater Future
Stephanie Smith, Vice President of Operations, Alliance for the Great Lakes
Lindsay Telfer, National Director, Canadian Freshwater Alliance

2. Tribal Stream and Michigan Fruitbelt Collaborative
Grand Ballroom F
The workshop will describe the efforts and success of a long-term partnership in rural Northern Michigan to support and intertwine land and water conservation by receiving nearly $8 million in public investment and leveraging nearly $8 million in partner contributions through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program. The partnership is led by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, Leelanau Conservancy, and Conservation Resource Alliance with additional partners joining the partnership such as Little Traverse Conservancy and Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians. This diverse group understands the connection between protecting tribal traditional lifeways, farm land conservation and river restoration in these critical and globally rare watersheds.

Moderator: Kira Davis, Program Director, Conservation Resource Alliance
Amy Beyer, Executive Director, Conservation Resource Alliance
DJ Shook, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians
Caroline Keson, Water Quality Specialist, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians

3. How to Attract Media Coverage
Grand Ballroom E
Getting attention from the media is crucial for showcasing your organization or an event. Media representatives will explain changes within the industry and secrets to attracting coverage. You’ll learn what reporters/producers are looking for, the best way to pitch stories, and how to make sure logistical issues are addressed.

Moderator: Dave Rosenthal, Managing Editor, Great Lakes Today
Elizabeth Miller, Reporter, Great Lakes Today, WCPN Ideastream Cleveland
Angelica Morrison, Reporter, WBFO Buffalo
Veronica Volk, Reporter, WXXI Rochester

4. Urban Fishery and Riparian Habitat Enhancement
Regency Ballroom C
The Unity Island habitat enhancement workshop will discuss the restoration of this riverine island, with a focus on fisheries and riparian habitat assessment, and the benefits provided to public recreation opportunities and environmental quality of life in this highly urbanized environment.

Moderator: Kris Erickson, Principal Scientist, Ecology and Environment, Inc.
Jim Taravella, Professional Engineer, Ecology and Environment, Inc.
Sheila Hint, Project Engineer, US Army Corps of Engineers

2:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Grand Foyer B

2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Breakout Sessions
1. Climate resilience: A Binational Approach?
Grand Ballroom G
Our changing climate is influencing Great Lakes water quality and ecosystem resilience. Can the U.S. and Canada work together to shape strategies that will maximize resilience and identify the best adaptation strategies? Explore the Great Lakes Water Quality Board’s recommendations and strategies to move forward.

Moderator: Jane Elder, Executive Director, Wisconsin Academy of Art and Sciences, Arts and Letters
James Wagner, Manager of Natural Resources and Consultation, Metis Nation of Ontario

2. The Great Lakes Business Network: Leveraging Social Responsibility to Advance Great Lakes Protection
Grand Ballroom F
The newly formed Great Lakes Business Network (GLBN) puts the interest of recreational tourism and clean water-based businesses in the region front and center.  Come hear from the GLBN organizers and members on why and how businesses help lead on critical Great Lakes issues, including their current focus issue on decommissioning Line 5. We will also hear from GLBN members on Great Lakes issues they hope to take on in the near future, and how to effectively work with businesses.

Beth Wallace, Great Lakes Business Network Organizer, National Wildlife Federation
Mike Shriberg, Great Lakes Regional Center Executive Director, National Wildlife Federation
Zada Harris, Great Lakes Business Network Organizer, Groundwork
Dan Sloboda, Chicago Environmental Coordinator, Patagonia
Emily Pendergraft, Membership and Strategic Projects Manager, 1% for the Planet
Larry Bell, Founder and President, Bell’s Brewery and Upper Hand Brewery

3. Communities Protecting Their Drinking Water
Grand Ballroom E
Local communities must lead the way to protect their drinking water. Join us to hear how two communities are protecting their drinking water utilizing green infrastructure and problem solve your local green infrastructure obstacles with attendees. Leave equipped with success stories, lessons learned, and template policies and ordinances.

Moderator: Donald Wiggins, Lake Erie Engagement Coordinator, Ohio Environmental Council
Alicia Smith, Community Organizer, Junction Coalition
Melissa Green Hopfer, Executive Director, Toledo Lucas County Sustainability Commission

4. Black Swamp Forrest Woods Preserve Restoration
Regency Ballroom C
The Black Swamp Conservancy, the design-build team of EnviroScience, Inc., RiverReach Construction, and Kent State University collaborated on the Forrest Woods Preserve Restoration Project located in the Upper Maumee River watershed in Ohio. The grant funded project involves restoration of over potentially 55 acres of wetlands, reforestation and 3,500 linear feet of headwater tributaries to Marie DeLarme Creek. The designed centered upon creating a treatment system for agricultural runoff using denitrification riffles.

Joel Bingham, Restoration Biologist, Restoration Group Manager, EnviroScience, Inc.

3:30 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.
Grand Foyer B

3:45 p. m. – 4:45 p.m.
Breakout Sessions
1. Fighting – and Winning – Against a Polluter
Grand Ballroom G
Jackie James-Creedon led a decade-long grassroots campaign that used homemade testing kits to call attention to illegal emissions from a Buffalo-area coke factory. In a federal trial, the company was fined $25 million – with half of the money funding a community health study. Get tips for organizing your community and challenging polluters.

Moderator: Dave Rosenthal, Managing Editor, Great Lakes Today
Jackie James-Creedon, Director, Citizen Science Community Resources
Dr. Joseph A. Gardella Jr., John and Frances Larkin Professor of Chemistry, University of Buffalo
Anne Adams Smutzer, Board Member, Citizen Science Community Resources

2. Swimming Upstream with a Smile
Grand Ballroom F
Description and speakers to come.

3. Scorecard Framework: Reducing phosphorus in Lake Erie
Grand Ballroom E
Toxic algal blooms in the Western Lake Erie Basin caused by phosphorous loadings have forced surrounding jurisdictions into action. The Alliance for the Great Lakes and Freshwater Future will present their scorecard framework, which assesses current and proposed policy approaches to phosphorus reduction in Ohio, Michigan and Ontario.

Moderator: Molly Flanagan, Vice President of Policy, Alliance for the Great Lakes
Sheyda Esnaashari, Policy Coordinator, Alliance For the Great Lakes
Nancy Goucher, Manager of Partnerships, Freshwater Future
Gail Hesse, Great Lakes Water Program Manager, National Wildlife Federation
Charlotte Jameson, Government Affairs Director, Michigan League of Conservation Voters

4. Tonawanda Creek Hydrilla Eradication Demonstration Project
Regency Ballroom C
The five-year Hydrilla Eradication Demonstration Project on Tonawanda Creek/Erie Canal is a success story documenting the almost complete eradication of numerous Hydrilla infestations in the creek/canal system.  Hydrilla infestations were identified in September 2012 between the Niagara River to approximately 15 miles east to the Lockport area.

Moderator: Gene Florentino, Principal Scientist and Program Manager, Ecology and Environment, Inc
Kris Erickson, Principal Scientist and Invasive Species Specialist, Ecology and Environment, Inc.
Bob Gibson, Outreach and Stakeholder Engagement Specialist, Ecology and Environment, Inc.
Michael Greer, Regional Technical Specialist and Project Manager, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

4:45 p.m.
Free evening!



7:00 a.m. – 7:45 a.m.
Continental Breakfast
Grand Ballroom 

7:45 a.m. – 8:00 a.m.
Opening Remarks and Conference Closing
Grand Ballroom

8:15 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.
Load Buses 
Buses depart from the Huron Street entrance of the Hyatt Regency, Buffalo

8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Travel to Niagara Falls

9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.*
Niagara Falls
1. Maid of the Mist 

Drop off at the Visitor Center, Prospect Point. Proceed to the Maid of the Mist (10 minute walk)
2. Cave of the Winds
Drop off at Cave of the Winds entrance
3. Goat Island Tour 
Drop off at Cave of the Winds entrance and meet with the Niagara Park tour guides.
4. Niagara Falls Gorge and Schoellkopf Power Plant Ruins Tour
Drop off at the Discovery Center and Aquarium entrance and meet with the Niagara Park tour guides.

11:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
Load Buses
Visitor Center Prospect Point, Niagara Falls

11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Travel to either Buffalo International Airport or Hyatt Regency Buffalo

12:30 p.m.
Conference ends

*Travel Note: Due to this all-conference trip to Niagara Falls on the last day, please plan departure travel accordingly. It is estimated that attendees will return from the Niagara Falls trip to the hotel at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday.