International Joint Commission (IJC)
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GLWQA Priorities 2007-09 Series: Work Group Report on Nearshore Framework
Work Group Report

The nearshore is the transition zone between the watershed and offshore waters, a vital ecological link for tributaries, wetlands, and groundwater as well as habitat for diverse organisms including humans._x000D_ Until recently nearshore waters were overlooked in favour of offshore waters, despite that perturbations often appear first in the former. The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) implicates several nearshore issues in various of its annexes, but must be amended to address these explicitly and to elaborate their inclusion in Lakewide Management Plans. Five 2007-2009 Priority cycle Work Groups were designated to address specific symptoms of nearshore degradation. Since 2007, the IJC has been instrumental in educating government and the public on nearshore zones, organizing a series of meetings and consultations to survey nearshore issues and to propose policy-based alternatives. The water circulation inherent to water systems creates binational implications for nearshore water quality, hence demanding binational leadership and resource investment. The U.S. lacks regional arrangements similar to Ontario’s Conservation Authorities, which facilitate the ecosystem approach described in the report. Physical, hydrological, and biological disruptions are equal in significance to chemical alterations. Pollutant monitoring needs to be reinvigorated, loadings tabulated, and land use change inventoried. Institutional arrangements should be created to support restoration and scientific research. Activites must concentrate on legislative and programmatic coordination instead of fragmentation. Adaptive- management is the preferred approach to the nearshore priority due to the uncertainty of research data and the dynamic changeabiltiy of the Great Lakes. Adaptive-management involves continuous system monitoring, evaluation of effectiveness, and adjusting where necessary throughout the course of a project. Promising adaptive-management initiatives include the Great Lakes Environmental Indicators Project (GLEI) and the Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network (CABIN). The Binational Executive Committee (BEC) is called upon to assume leadership for engaging Great Lakes agencies in protecting nearshore waters.

Preparation of a 2D Hydrodynamic model of the Lower Pembina River Flood Plains

The International Joint Commission retained the services of the Canadian Hydraulics Centre (CHC) of the National Research Council to prepare a two-dimensional model of the lower Pembina River flood plains using Telemac-2D, a software now freely available from France. This report describes the preparation of this model and its calibration. Results are also presented for a few hypothetical scenarios where some aspects of infrastructure have been modified. This allows the simulation of hypothetical scenarios, thereby allowing an initial estimation of where the flood waters would be going under such conditions, and what kind of benefits and damages would occur.

How Are We Living With The Red? A Report by R. Halliday & Associates to the IRRB
R. Halliday & Associates

In Living with the Red (2000) the IJC made 28 recommendations and endorsed another thirty aimed at reducing and preventing harm from future flooding in the Red River basin. The IJC’s International Red River Board (IRRB) monitors government progress in implementing these recommendations, and encourages integrated watershed management approaches. Since the 1997 flood of the Red River, governments have spent over $1 billion towards improved flood preparedness and mitigation. The resilience afforded by measures undertaken so far significantly reduced damage caused by the 2006 and 2009 floods to the people and communities of the Red River Valley. Halliday & Associates’ report reviews achievements and continuing deficiencies at all levels of government in the areas of policy, legislation, and institutions; preparedness; mitigation; response/recovery; and environment. Achievements include a national mitigation strategy, improved data policies, designated flood area regulation, emergency management legislation, Red River Floodway expansion, state building codes, formation of international institutions, coordinated flood forecasting, and a national map modernization program. Several agencies are collaborating with the Red River Basin Commission to develop hydraulic models for the basin. Cities have upgraded emergency response plans. Many high-risk structures have been removed, high risk areas in the U.S. identified, and major levees completed. Fargo-Moorhead, Drayton, Grafton, Neche, and other tributary communities need additional permanent protection. The report reviews the current status of all IJC and Task Force recommendations one by one. Those that have achieved the most success are structural measures, followed by those aimed at a specific agency. Less successful are those that imply a degree of collective management and accountability, particularly when binational approaches are necessary. More needs to be done on biota transfer, groundwater contamination, hazardous goods storage, and riparian zones. Research is needed on tributary flooding, ice jam flooding, and summer floods. Databases and models must improve as new information and technologies arise. Lawsuits among jurisdictions, such as that relating to the lower Pembina River, impede progress. The IJC and IRRB should focus on matters pertaining to the transboundary area, the nature and effects of flooding, the development basin resiliency indicators, and flood governance.

Water and Health in Lake of the Woods and Rainy River Basins
Jacqueline A. Oblak, Health Professionals Task Force, IJC

This report provides a broad look at the boundary waters of Rainy River and Lake of the Woods basins, identifying water quality issues and demonstrating how watershed management and health management issues are interrelated. It provides background information on existing and emerging water issues which have an associated human health component and provides information on agencies in both the United States and Canada which are involved in or responsible for legislation, collection and analysis of information related to health and water issues, and implementation of water quality and quantity protection measures in the region.

Impacts on Upper great Lakes Water Levels: St. Clair River, Draft Report of the International Upper Great Lakes Study, Summary Report
Bi-national International Upper great Lakes Study Board

This is a draft of the summary report of the first of two reports on the St. Clair River portion for the bi-national Upper Great Lakes Study. The Study Board concludes that conveyance, glacial isostatic adjustment, and climactic patterns have decreased Lake Michigan-Huron and Lake Erie water-level difference. Also, no erosion along the length of the St. Clair River bed has taken place since at least 2000; previous fluctuations measured (1971-2000) were erroneous. On this basis, the Study Board recommends that remedial measures (to address past damages or adverse effects) not be undertaken in the St. Clair River at this time, and that the need for mitigative measures (to address possible future changes that might result in adverse effects) in the St. Clair River be examined as part of the comprehensive assessment of the future effects of climate change on water supplies in the upper Great Lakes basin in Report 2 of the Study, on Lake Superior regulation, to be completed in 2012. The Study Board also recommends that: bathymetric surveys be conducted every five years to monitor any changes in the bed of the St. Clair River; the four new stream flow gauging stations and the two eddy co-variance (evaporation) gauging stations installed as part of the Study be maintained following the completion of the Study in 2012; and accountability and coordination in the collection and management of essential data on the Great Lakes be strengthened by formalizing the mandate of the bi-national Coordinating Committee on Great Lakes Basic Hydraulic and Hydrologic Data and having the Committee formally report to the International Joint Commission.

Report of the International Watersheds Initiative Workshop in Washington, D.C.

Members of five IJC boards and one task force met with IJC Commissioners and staff and representatives of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the State Department on the afternoon of March 31, 2009, to exchange information and ideas regarding implementation of the International Watersheds Initiative (IWI).  The session was held in follow‐up to similar meetings in Vancouver (March 2008) and Ottawa (October 2008) to foster dialogue about the IWI, the Commission’s effort for an integrated, participatory approach to transboundary basin issues.  Participants were briefed on the public release on March 26 of the IJC’s Third Report to Governments on the IWI.  They were informed that substantial funding is available for new projects (CND$ 794,000 for Canadian FY 2009‐10 and US$450,000 for U.S. FY 2009).  Boards presented the results of their 2008‐09 IWI projects, reviewing benefits and challenges and discussing lessons learned, and outlined plans for future activities.  They were also briefed on the IJC’s role in promoting the harmonization of geospatial data for transboundary basins, and the implications of this work for boards.  Participants were broadly supportive of the IWI’s objectives and appreciative of IJC efforts to strengthen the Initiative, while recognizing that this was still an evolutionary process.

Sharing the Waters of the Red River Basin: A Review of Options for Transboundary Water Governance
Rob de Loe, IRRB, IJC

This study was commissioned by the International Red River Board (IRRB) of the International Joint Commission (IJC). The goals of the study were to review apportionment procedures relevant to the Red River basin, and to recommend an appropriate model. The study is based on an extensive review of two main sources of information: (1) documents and reports relating to water management in the Red River Basin, and (2) the literature of transboundary water management. Field work in the Red River Basin was not conducted.

The Impact of Urban Areas on Great Lakes Water Quality
Science Advisory Board & Great Lakes Water Quality Board & HPTF

Since the 1990s it has become clear that expanding urbanization has over the past two centuries degraded the ecological integrity of the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem (GLBE) waters, which lie in the industrial heartland of North America. Pollution is conveyed more effectively by the impervious, denaturalized surfaces of urbanized land. The report identifies major associated stressors such as urban sprawl, automobiles, increased energy and water consumption, inadequate storm and wastewater infrastructure, decentralization of services and employment, poor urban planning, and imbalanced investment. These have resulted in substantial point and non-point phosphorus loads, loss of biodiversity, nearshore degradation, air deposition of contaminants, and negative health effects from pathogen exposure, among other problems. The economic viability of the ten urban areas highlighted in the report risks being compromised due to oil dependence. Although certain conditions may have improved from the mid-20th century, awareness has not yet reversed adverse land use. The 1972 Greaty Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) was a landmark in addressing these impacts. The IJC’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) has studied urbanization and presented findings and proposed solutions in successive Biennial Priority Reports since the mid-1990s. In the 2005-2007 cycle, the findings of a multi-Board collaboration on the Urbanization Priority indicated preferred courses of action, including more efficient public transit, compact urban design, sustainable building, mixed land uses, protection of agricultural and natural lands, and enhanced energy and water conservation. Because the impacts are Basin-wide, solutions must be region-wide, hence binational. The report delineates the integrated responsibilities specific to local, provincial and state, and federal governments, as well as the IJC. The challenge of cooperation has been facilitated by renewed strategies such as the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration. Work on the Urbanization Priority continues.

Statistical Analysis of Trends in the Red River Over a 45 Year Period
Carrie Paquette, IRRB

Statistical evaluation of trends in water quality over a 45-year period will be useful for assessing the effects of variation in precipitation in the Red River watershed and the impact that landscape change has on runoff water quality. The Red River discharges into Lake Winnipeg and the eutrophication of Lake Winnipeg is a research priority of Environment Canada and Manitoba Water Stewardship. This project is supported by the International Red River Board in response to a presentation made by the Canadian Co-Chair of its Aquatic Ecosystems Subcommittee.

The International Watersheds Initiative: Implementing a New Paradigm for Transboundary Basins – Third Report to Governments on the International Watersheds Initiative
International Joint Commission - Commission mixte internationale

The International Joint Commission (IJC) has developed the International Watersheds Initiative (IWI) over the past decade on the premise that water resource problems can be anticipated, prevented or resolved locally before developing into international issues. The IJC established pilot watershed boards in the St. Croix, Rainy, Red, and Souris River basins. Achievements include contributing impartial research on the potential transfer of fish pathogens and parasites caused by the contentious Devils Lake outlet; informing legislation regarding fish migration around dams in the St. Croix River; coordinating an agreement that limits Rainy River water flow fluctuations, driven by hydroelectric demand, that endangered fish spawning; and developing flood mitigation strategies in the Red River basin. The IJC intends to progressively expand the “ecosystem approach” along the entire border, using models contextual to the local environment. The report broadly delineates IWI operating principles and organizational structure of the international watershed boards. It emphasizes the priority to harmonize hydrographic data, among other activities to improve understanding of transboundary watersheds. Climate change and the interaction between water quality and human health are emerging issues of primary importance. The IJC proposes that an annual $1 million be endowed to the IWI equally by the Canadian and U.S. governments, in addition to the resources already pledged, as a base level of funding. The report provides examples of IWI projects, noting the cost of each, and announces a new strategic approach to evaluating proposals and tracking project progress. The report states actions required by the watershed boards, the IJC, and the federal governments to strengthen the boards’ capacity.

Report of the International Watersheds Initiative Workshop in Ottawa, ON

Representatives of six transboundary basins met with IJC Commissioners and staff prior to the IJC’s Fall Semi‐Annual Meeting in Ottawa to exchange information and ideas regarding implementation of the International Watersheds Initiative (IWI). The workshop was a continuation of discussions initiated at the March 2008 IWI Workshop held in Vancouver, B.C., and was organized in response to an expressed desire at the latter meeting for further opportunities for ongoing dialogue among the existing, pilot and candidate IWI boards. Participants received and discussed technical presentations on three emerging issues for IWI boards – data harmonization; water quality and health; climate change – and concluded that these issues deserve greater attention in the development of board work plans. They reviewed and commented on the process for submitting, evaluating, funding and reporting of IWI projects. They also discussed and critiqued a staff draft of the Third Report to Governments on the IWI, which is expected to be finalized by the end of 2008, and agreed to submit additional basin‐specific information and photos by November 26.  Attendees were also briefed on IJC plans for the organization’s centennial during 2009 and considered options for board involvement in substantive and celebratory events to mark the occasion. 

Viral Haemorrhagic Septicaemia In the Great Lakes Region – Management and Science Needs Workshop Proceedings
Council of Great Lakes Research Managers

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR), the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC), and the IJC’s Council of Great Lakes Research Managers held a workshop (participants listed) on March 12-13, 2008 in Toronto, to determine scientific research needs to enable sound management of Viral Haemorrhagic Septicaemia (VHS). The workshop was facilitated by ESSA Technologies Ltd., who prepared this report. VHS is a highly contagious pathogen of fresh- and saltwater fish. Since it first appeared in Lake Ontario in 2005, VHS has caused many large-scale exterminations of wild fish in the Great Lakes Basin. Other impacts include reduced spawning and recruitment, altered energy flow and food web dynamics, disruption of wild egg and forage collection by hatcheries, loss of fish culture and fish transfer, and damage to commercial and recreational fisheries. The only acceptable test for VHS is cell culture, which takes 28 days to detect viable (infective) virus; comparably, a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test can be done in one day and is 10,000 times more sensitive, but only indicates that the fish was exposed to VHS, not that is infected. Until quantitative PCR testing is validated as a primary diagnostic tool, it can be used to rapidly screen large numbers of samples, those testing positive sent for cell culture testing. More laboratories are needed to conduct diagnostic testing, as is the ability to diagnose infections by a wider range of pathogens (i.e., more diagnostic tests). Biological studies are needed to understand transmission vectors/pathways for VHS and other aquatic diseases, and to determine the best disinfection methods. Decision analysis, ideally conducted as a universal and coordinated procedure, is essential to clarify risks associated with specific pathogens, and to prioritize timely responses. Current sampling is inadequate and sometimes unmethodical; surveillance protocols based on clear management goals, coupled with increased monitoring activities, will enable more statistical certainty. Expanded research and monitoring requires increased funding.

Meeting our Electrical Needs to 2030 A Review of Energy and Environmental Factors
The Electrical Energy Consultation Advisory Committee

The Air Quality Advisory Board’s Electrical Energy Consultation Advisory Committee reports on electricity generation sustainability and environmental issues. Its main recommendations: (1) substantial reduction or elimination of greenhouse gas emissions; (2) aggressive demand management programs; (3) prices set to accurately reflect all current and historic costs; (3) diverse portfolio of traditional and renewable electrical energy sources; (4) a more comprehensive use of renewable technology; (5) comprehensive environment impact analysis; (6) further development of large scale hydroelectric projects, particularly in the Canadian north; (8) development and construction, within the next decade, of full scale coal combustion technology with near zero emissions of traditional pollutants, accompanied by very substantial reductions in releases of carbon dioxide; (9) reconfiguration of a currently operational major coal fired facility to achieve extensive sequestration or treatment of carbon dioxide emissions; (10) enhancement of the transmission system; (11) more extensive usage of natural gas; (12) resolution of nuclear waste management and storage concerns; (13) technology exchanges with China, India, and other developing nations; (14) complete Life Cycle-Fuel Cycle analyses.

Workshop on the International Watersheds Initiative in Vancouver, BC

In March 2008 the IJC convened a bi-national workshop to provide an opportunity for representatives of the International Watershed and other IJC boards, other interested parties, and IJC Commissioners and staff to review progress, exchange ideas, information and concerns, and discuss the future direction of the International Watersheds Initiative (IWI) (Annexes 1-2). In particular the workshop participants were asked to provide their views on: The operating principles of the IWI boards; The framework and the governance structure required; and, An action plan and funding priorities.

Priorities and Progress under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement 2005-2007
Great Lakes Science Advisory Board

The Science Advisory Board (SAB) is the sole author of the 2005-07 Priorities and Progress report. An SAB workgroup convened a Wingspread Consultation on Strengthening Science under a Renewed Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) in January 2006. GLWQA Article 1 should define three principles: precaution, adaptive management, and robustness. A new Annex is needed to address accountability. The Annex 1 Supplement should incorporate a list of ecosystem health objectives and indicators. Revised objectives must be as stringent as existing standards, using a process-oriented (rather than quantitative value-oriented) framework. The GLWQA should require a consistent, binational data management system (including meta data), an Integrated Science and Policy Advisory Board, and enhanced local government and public interaction. The Work Group on Ecosystem Health’s research on waterborne microbial pathogens in the Great Lakes points to the importance of inventorying microbial source tracking studies and piloting technological solutions in Areas of Concern where recreational swimming is impaired. A June 2006 consultation discussed the ecosystem approach to dam removal. Regulatory agencies, in conjunction with multi-level government agencies, need guidelines on the cumulative risks and benefits of dam removal and retention. The report reviews Great Lakes fish consumption and associated health effects, recommending improved communication of pertinent information to target populations, as well as risk-benefit juxtaposition, especially evaluation of omega-3 fatty acid levels. The relationship between persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and adverse health conditions such as diabetes must be researched. The report outlines groundwater quality and urbanization issues, to be addressed in greater detail in stand-alone reports. Parties must develop tools to evaluate and improve existing surveillance and monitoring programs in response to climate-related changes. Institutions must collaborate to develop and apply weight-of-evidence methodologies to verify causal hypotheses. Appendices include a timeline of SAB meetings/workshops, the SAB roster, a transmittal letter for Annex 16 (Groundwater) recommendations, a recap of the Wingspread Consultation, and an expert paper on microbial source tracking.

International Joint Commission 2007 Annual Report
International Joint Commission - Commission mixte internationale

This leaflet summarizes the activities of the International Joint Commission (IJC) in 2007. The 2007 Biennial Meeting and Great Lakes Conference was held in Chicago. The IJC began to develop a near-shore waters framework. The IJC addressed the threat of alien invasive species to the Great Lakes basin. The IJC continued its International Watershed Initiative, strengthening the local capacities of pilot International Watershed Boards. The leaflet includes a map of transboundary watersheds superimposed over the IJC Board jurisdictions. The IJC convened public discussion on the 2006 Progress Report under the Air Quality Agreement, to which a Particulate Matter Annex will be added. The Air Quality Advisory Board produced a Summary of Critical Air Quality Issues in the Transboundary Region. The Health Professionals Task Force continued to address microbiological and chemical groundwater quality as well as urban environmental health issues. The International Upper Great Lakes Study (IUGLS) was launched in 2007 to examine the current plan for regulation of outflows from Lake Superior, focusing on possible erosion and its effects in the St. Clair River. Consultations continue on a new order and regulation plan developed by the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Study Board. Great Lakes basin water levels were extremely low, causing widespread concern; Lake Superior, Lake Michigan-Huron, and Montreal’s Port reached historic lows, and Rainy Lake fell into drought. The IJC issued a Supplemental Order authorizing the International Rainy Lake Board of Control to reduce outflows below the former bottom curve range. The IJC funded a project led by the U.S. Geological Survey to develop an improved spreadsheet model to be used in water apportionment in the St. Mary-Milk River basins. The leaflet reiterates the IJC’s history and mission, and summarizes the organization’s structure and key activities.

Parasites and Pathogens of Fish from Devils Lake, Sheyenne River, Red River and the Red River Delta - Report for the Fall 2006 Program
International Red River Board

In 2006, Aquatic & Environmental Consultants, Ltd. (AEC), in consultation with U.S. and Canadian fish health experts, produced for the IJC and International Red River Board (IRRB) a proposal and budget for a three-year IRRB program to sample fish species from Devils Lake, Sheyenne River, Red River, and Red River Delta. This scientific report briefly summarizes previous research (2001/2002 and 2005) and details the first term (Fall 2006) of that IRRB program, whose objectives in these aquatic ecosystems were to (1) determine the presence and estimate the prevalence of fish parasites and pathogens; (2) produce a comprehensive, scientifically sound survey thereof usable for risk analysis of the parasites and pathogens’ potential transfer from Devils Lake to the Red River basin ecosystems (including Lake Winnipeg); and (3) use this survey to meet the IRRB’s “Work Plan” framework for biological monitoring in the Red River basin. The results were: (1) Fish from all sites in both countries did not show clinical signs of disease from bacteria; (2) USA samples did not exhibit evidence of viral infection, but 2/6o walleye from Canada had a common skin cancer and 1/60 had an iridovirus; (3) Nine parasites were detected in Devils Lake and 28 in Red River Delta; (4) Two parasite taxa found in Devils Lake, Gyrodactylus hoffmani and Epistylis sp., have not yet been detected downstream in either country; (5) A foreign and invasive parasite, the Asian tapeworm, has recently colonized the Red River Delta from an unknown source; (6) Histopathology of fish from the Red River Delta exhibit a wide variety of parasite-induced lesions on a variety of tissues, which was to be expected, but a relatively high incidence of lesions in the heart of walleye is of concern; and (7) Whirling disease was not detected in Lake Whitefish collected from Lake Winnipeg. The IRRB emphasizes, however, that this first year of the three-year program is non-conclusive about the state of the watershed.

Air Quality in Selected Binational Great Lakes Regions (Detroit-Windsor, Port Huron-Sarnie, & Sault Ste. Maries)
International Air Quality Advisory Board

This is the International Air Quality Advisory Board’s February 2004 report on transboundary air quality issues in the Detroit-Windsor, Port Huron-Sarnia, and Sault Ste. Maries locales. Findings: high smog (ozone and fine particulate) levels are high and frequent enough to negatively impact sensitive demographics; two southerly regions experience more MOE smog alerts, while the northern locale has a higher annual average ozone concentration; smog sources, and hence reduction solutions, are both regional and local; HAPs (Hazardous Air Pollutants) seem to have declined, but trichloroethylene and xylene compounds have not or have increased; HAPs sources, and hence countermeasures, are more localized; the health impact of these HAPs individually is complicated by differences among the various jurisdictional guidelines, but risk assessment now underway under the US Ten City Study may offer some further guidance on this issue; and a more comprehensive overview would require joint coordinated efforts. Recommendations: cooperative and shared sampling, monitoring, and bilateral control strategies (considering both stationary and mobile sources of common air pollutants and HAPs) between USEPA and Environment Canada in Michigan and Ontario; a discourse facilitated by the IJC; continued development of a mechanism to compare air quality standards and guidelines for both common and hazardous air pollutants in transboundary airsheds; and the IJC should carefully track the US Urban HAPs Study currently underway in ten cities in the United States and assess the outcomes of this study, as these would have relevance could be applied in the three regions, particularly the two southern locales, as well as a vast majority of North American urban settings.

Second Summary of Critical Air quality Issues in the Transboundary Region 2007: Report from the International Air Quality Advisory Board to the International Joint Commission
International Air Quality Advisory Board

In 2004, the International Air Quality Advisory Board issued a report on key air quality issues affecting the transboundary region. This is a follow-up report addressing new issues that have emerged in the three years since. Canada and the United States are among the largest energy producers and consumers in the world; given both countries’ apparent addiction to energy, new measures are required to balance energy needs with better air quality. Further research is needed into air quality measures, and programs like tax incentives for reduced emissions or requiring the private sector to spend money on new innovations will prove beneficial. Increasing energy resource development and population growth in the west is contributing to greater transboundary air pollution in the region. Since the U.S.-Canada Air Quality Agreement has been useful for addressing air quality concerns in the past, upcoming negotiations should include plans for emission reduction in the west. Emissions from boats and aircraft have not been regulated as heavily as from automobiles, partly due to international agreements on fuel and engine standards; nonetheless, international cooperation between governments and the private sector can reduce emissions. Support for air quality monitoring networks has dwindled over the past twenty-five years, despite their importance for data gathering; both governments need to provide stable funding and enhancement opportunities for these networks, as well as international coordination. Pollution contributions from small-scale sources such as consumer goods also need to be addressed through such measures as equipment bans and use limitations, municipal by-laws, and subsidizing “change-out” programs to update old technology. Finally, both governments also need to improve regulatory programs to be able to respond quickly to new sources of air pollution.

Synthesis of Public Comments on the 2006 Progress Report under the Canada/United States Air Quality Agreement
International Joint Commission - Commission mixte internationale

The 1991 Canada-United States Air Quality Agreement (AQA) instituted a bilateral Air Quality Committee (AQC), led by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Environment Canada, to implement the AQA by organizing action to mitigate transboundary air pollution. Under AQA Article IX, the IJC invited comments on the 2006 AQC Progress Report for the years 2004-2006. Of the 25 comments received, four were from the U.S. and 21 were from Canada; 15 came from state, provincial, or municipal governments (together representing millions of people), five from non-governmental organizations, another from an Environmental Commissioner, and 19 from roundtables in Seattle and Vancouver. All commentators/participants are listed in an appendix. Nearly all respondents expressed strong support for the AQA’S fostering of binational cooperation on pollution control, monitoring, research, and information exchange. They were satisfied at progress in reducing sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and volatile organic compounds in its target area, but agreed with the Report that much more needs to be done to mitigate transboundary air pollution. Respondents enthused about the document’s quality, as it combines text and graphics to provide a highly useful summary of achievements under the AQA. The Acid Rain Annex received the greatest number of comments, inciting wide-ranging views including health benefits analyses and wet deposition monitoring sites. Many thought the initiatives identified in the Report’s Ozone Annex lacked detail, and were skeptical that these would achieve their stated objectives. Respondents made suggestions for the future of the AQA: to establish a Particulate Matter Annex and another addressing western issues, to address greenhouse gas emissions, and to educate the public on the health and environmental effects of air pollution.

IJC Canada and United States 2006 Annual Report
International Joint Commission - Commission mixte internationale

This brochure summarizes the activities of the International Joint Commission (IJC) in 2006. The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) was under review. The IJC synthesized public comment and submitted a special report to the U.S. and Canadian governments, advising how the Agreement be revamped in tandem with deepened understanding of evolving stressors affecting waters of the Great Lakes basin. The IJC submitted its 13th Biennial Report on Great Lakes Water Quality, with accountability the theme. The IJC’s advisory boards released their 2003-2005 Priorities Report. The IJC released a report on spills focusing on the St. Clair-Detroit River Corridor, from which followed several recommendations. Collaborative research began on water quality issues related to urban land use. The document summarizes the International Watershed Initiative activities in four watersheds: the St. Croix River, the Red River, the Rainy River, and the Lake Champlain. The Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Study Board released its final report, while the St. Mary and Milk Rivers Administrative Task Force presented its draft report. The International Air Quality Advisory Board issued a report on a workshop conducted the Keeping Clean Areas Clean initiative, convened another workshop on the development of a mercury-tracking model, and presented to the IJC on air contamination in the Detroit-Windsor region. The IJC approved a Plan of Study for Evaluation and Renewal of IJC Orders governing the outflows from Osoyoos Lake. The IJC published a follow-up to their 1998 Unsafe Dams? Report that judges progress on ensuring the safety and security of transboundary dams to be insufficient. The IJC notified the Canadian Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fishery Commission on it decision to cease further action with respect to the 1941 Order of Approval of the Grand Coulee Dam. The brochure reiterates the IJC’s history and mission, and summarizes the organization’s structure and key activities.

Your Guide to the IJC’s Proposed new Order of Approval and Plan 2007
International Lake Ontario-St.Lawrence River Study Board

This report is a guide for the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River community at large to familiarize itself with the IJC’s new proposed Order of Approval and water regulation plan – “Plan 2007” – to replace the original 1952 and 1956 Orders of Approval and the 1963 Regulation Plan 1958-D. The Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Study (concluded 2006) had identified three candidate regulation plans (A+, B+, D+); when experts tried to incorporate further environmental benefits, the results were a B+ variant and a D+ variant. The report compares the environmental and economic performance indicators of each potential plan. A letter from the Canadian and U.S. Chairs and Commissioners explains why the IJC is proposing the D+ variant, re-dubbed Plan 2007. Plan 2007 takes account of the more extreme wet and dry conditions experienced since the 1950s, a wider range of water supplies, and increasing environmental concerns. Compared to the extant Plan, Plan 2007 provides comparable or greater benefits in terms of navigation, power, irrigation, recreational boating, shoreline property, and sanitary and domestic interests. It reduces shoreline flooding and erosion. The Plan requires the IJC to conduct a review after two years and to switch to Plan B+, the strongest in terms of environmental benefits, pending adequate mitigation of that Plan’s adverse impacts on other interests. A new International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board will manage all aspects of the regulation plan through a formal adaptive management program, a process to continually assess and improve management policy and practices based on outcomes. The Plan establishes criteria for deviations in extreme low or high water conditions, such as during winter operations, emergencies, Ottawa River flood discharges, peaking and ponding, major spills, power dam shutdowns, and ship sinkings. The report includes a historical timeline and full text of the proposed new Order. The IJC’s goal to sign a new Order by the end of 2008. It seeks comment on Plan 2007; a schedule of information sessions and public hearings is provided.

Review of the Lake Ontario – St. Lawrence River Order of Approval – For Consideration and Discussion Proposed new Order and Plan 2007
International Lake Ontario-St.Lawrence River Study Board

This poster contextualizes and overviews the revision of the IJC’s 1952 Order of Approval, amended in 1956, governing the regulation of outflows from Lake Ontario through the St. Lawrence River to Trois-Rivières, Québec. The Order set the conditions for the construction of the hydroelectric project at Cornwall, Ontario and Massena, New York. Following a five-year review, the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Study Board (the Study Board) proposed three options to the IJC in 2006; the IJC developed a proposed new Order and regulation plan called Plan 2007. The new Order provides the legal framework for the continued operation of the Moses-Saunders Dam. A series of graphs shows the expected high, medium, and low water levels at Alexandria Bay, Lake Ontario, and Montreal Jetty #1 for all plans under consideration. A table compares average annual net discounted benefits of coastal, commercial navigation, hydropower, and recreational boating performance indicators of each plan; another table compares performance on diverse environmental indicators. Plan 2007 produces comparably positive or neutral economic results and an increase in environmental benefits, maintaining benefits for property owners and the shipping industry. Monitoring and adaptive management are integral to the new Order. The Plan provides for short-term discretionary and emergency deviations from the regulation plan, and adjusts the institutions that manage Lake Ontario outflows. The Study Board and the IJC will perform public outreach and manage increased communication needs. The IJC will make a final decision on Plan 2007 after consulting with governments and reviewing public input.

13th Biennial Report on Great Lakes Water Quality
International Joint Commission - Commission mixte internationale

Compared to other nations’ management of freshwater systems, Canadians have been good, but not exemplary, stewards of the Great Lakes. The Lakes are less polluted today than they were short decades ago, yet toxic, human, animal, and industrial wastes, pharmaceuticals, and airborne substances continue to pollute them. Urban development, invasive species, and climate change are continuing challenges. The IJC’s 13th Biennial Report’s primary focus is on the need for an Accountability Framework in order to embolden binational commitments to achieve the objectives of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA). Accountability signifies a relationship based on tangible commitments towards realizing agreed-upon expectations and demonstrating, reviewing, and accepting responsibility for achievements and failings. Experts, Advisory Board members, and ordinary citizens alike urge greater accountability for the improvement of the Great Lakes. The report outlines typical elements for such a framework: a rigorous plan, comprehensive monitoring and assessment, progress reports, and objective evaluation. The IJC urges the Canadian and U.S. governments, Parties to the GLWQA, to present a preliminary Framework by June 2008. The governments are currently reviewing the GLWQA, a process the IJC wishes to accelerate, since its outcomes will necessarily affect the Framework. The IJC will help by creating a Task Force from its Great Lakes Advisory Boards, and other members independent from itself, to act as a resource to IJC-government strategizing sessions. The IJC will collaborate with governments to convene a Great Lakes Accountability Summit in summer 2008.

Expert Consultation on Emerging Issues of the Great Lakes in the 21st Century
Great Lakes Science Advisory Board

This report presents written versions of papers submitted to the Expert Consultation on Emerging Issues of the Great Lakes in the 21st Century, hosted by the IJC’s Great Lakes Science Advisory Board (SAB) at Wingspread, Racine, Wisconsin, February 5th-7th, 2003. The SAB organized a work group in 1992 to address emerging environmental issues. IJC priorities for the 2001-2003 biennial cycle included an SAB-hosted meeting to address chemical, biological, and physical issues. The meeting was planned and funded collaboratively with the Water Quality Board, the International Air Quality Advisory Board, and the Council of Great Lakes Research Managers, Environment Canada, the U.S. EPA, and the Johnson Foundation. The boards decided to focus on issues in the last twenty-five years. Their aim was to facilitate interdisciplinary, cross-border discourse among scientists and policy makers, and identifying specific initiatives to sustain progress under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA). The discussion was arranged under six themes, each led by a Lead Discussant and a Respondent. In the “vision for the future” theme, Greenberg focused on green redesign of urban space through connections of constructed and natural environments, while Wise envisioned appropriate regulatory management. Long-term recovery objectives are essential. Under the non-chemical stressors theme, Brandt and Shuter considered a range of threats including invasive species, climate variability, nutrient enrichment, habitat loss, and food web dynamics. Under the new chemicals theme, Muir identified new brominated compounds, fluorinated compounds, chlorinated paraffins, and plasticizers, and Walker discussed how to address potential chemical stressors before they become even more problematic. We need to improve both identification methods for new classes of chemicals and data management. The session on emerging effects saw Fox and Brown investigating how changing contaminant concentrations are unleashing an array of new effects on Great Lakes wildlife and fish. Enhanced monitoring, data sharing, and ecosystem forecasting are essential. Koonce and Taylor led the changing ecology of the Great Lakes discussion, unpredictable because it is unstable. Ogilvie and Carey presented new policies needed to manage the lakes. The three main policy challenges identified regard agricultural nutrient management, waste water treatment, and integration of environmental and economic considerations into greater institutional capacity. Broader ecosystem-based management strategies and binational scientific assessments are needed. The SAB makes several recommendations to the (IJC) Commissioners, asking that they present them to the EPA and Environment Canada.