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Protection of the Waters of the Great Lakes - Review of the Recommendations in the February 2000 Report
International Joint Commission - Commission mixte internationale
2004/08/01

In 2004, the International Joint Commission was requested by the governments of Canada and the United States to review the recommendations outlined in its February 2000 report Protection of the Waters of the Great Lakes. In that report, the Commission investigated water consumption with regard to the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin, the impact of diversions and water removal, and the effectiveness of current laws and regulations concerning sustainability. Since that report, improvements have already been made in the form of amendments to the Boundary Waters Treaty, Water Resources Development Act, and the Great Lakes Charter regarding water removal from the basin and decision-making standards between all levels of government. In this review, the Commission acknowledges the increasing demand for diversions by U.S. communities near the basin that lack direct access. Future diversions risk groundwater depletion, which would cause reduced water quality, dewatering of tributaries, and habitat destruction; thus, the Commission encourages compliance with its February 2000 recommendations while both governments develop water management regimes concerning these demands. The Commission also reaffirms that there is no threat to the basin’s water supply from international trade law and continues to recommend allaying public concerns about this issue. Work is still required to coordinate and implement water conservation measures set out in the Commission’s previous report; the Commission encourages careful examination of its recommendations, recommitment to their implementation, and international cooperation in order to sustain future water supplies.

International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Study Board Year Three Report to the IJC
International Lake Ontario-St.Lawrence River Study Board
2004/08/01

This report marks year three of the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Study Board’s five-year review of the effects of Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River water levels regulation stemming from the 1952 and 1956 Orders of Approval. The report reviews the Study’s mandate, structure, and funding. The Coastal Processes TWG collected spatial (mapping) and temporal (time series) data and developed computer modeling tools to determine the causes of shoreline erosion and flooding. The Environmental TWG is using an Integrated Ecological Response Model to investigate the habitat, supply, and diversity of wetland fish, birds, herpetiles, muskrats, and species at risk. The Recreational Boating and Tourism TWG presents the results of its surveys of boaters, marinas and yacht clubs, and charter boat operators. The Commercial Navigation TWG developed an economic impact model in terms of vessel operating costs. The Hydroelectric Power Generation TWG reviews conditions governing operation of the International St. Lawrence Power Project and the Beauharnois-Les Cedres Hydropower Complex, including ice management, peaking and ponding, emergency deviations, and electricity markets. The Municipal, Industrial and Domestic Water Uses TWG presents contracted research on water supply intakes, wastewater discharges via storm and sewer drains, and residential water systems in the Upper and Lower St. Lawrence. The Information Management TWG produced and organized several databases, datasets, research outputs, documents, and multimedia. The Economic Advisory Committee discussed economic analysis guidelines and the feasibility of valuating environmental tradeoffs. The Hydrology and Hydraulics Modeling TWG produced simulated series of stochastically-generated water supplies to test potential regulation plans against different water supply forecasts, including climate change scenarios. The Plan Formulation and Evaluation Group is using a computer model to simulate the effects of hypothetical regulation plans on Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence water level and flow conditions. This Shared Vision Model will integrate TWG research into plans that are quickly designed, tested, and analyzed for their environmental and economic performance, their adherence to hydrologic criteria, and their effects on the key interest areas, to decide which mix of outcomes works best. This evaluation process is peer reviewed. The Public Interest Advisory Group worked with the Study Board on a communications strategy, conducted public meetings, produced a quarterly newsletter, and liaised between the Study Board and the public at large. The report reviews concerns expressed by the Mohawk communities of Akwesasne, Kahnawake, and Tyendinaga. Next steps include consultation; completing the Shared Vision Model; formulating, assessing, and selecting plans and criteria; and reporting and archiving results.

International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Study Board: PIAG Report for Study Years Two and Three - Appendices
LOSLR Study Board Public Interest Advisory Group
2004/07/01

This document compiles the eight appendices to the Public Interest Advisory Group (PIAG)’s Report for Study Years Two and Three (2004). Appendix A lists PIAG’s twenty members (ten in each country) and their affiliations. Appendix B lists the audience, date, location, and number of attendees for the dozens of public outreach meetings PIAG conducted between April 2002 and March 2004, including those conducted by its Speakers Bureau or in coordination with the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Study Board and its Technical Work Groups (TWGs). Appendices C and D summarize the public meetings, consultations, and radio discussions held with the Mohawks of Akwesasne (St. Regis) and Kahnawake. The Mohawk council and community members raised detailed, numerous concerns and questions regarding fish and wildlife, fishing and hunting, erosion, boating, shipping, flooding, land loss, modeling, pollution, chemicals, human health, water quality, drinking water, and further environmental concerns. Water levels around Akwesasne lands are fluctuating more than the Study acknowledges. The tribes strongly and uniformly oppose Seaway expansion. Appendix E (41 pp.) compiles transcripts of PIAG public meetings held in Canada (Belleville, Trois-Rivières, Cornwall, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and Dorval), Appendix F (16 pp.) of U.S. meetings in Sackets Harbor, Wilson, Greece, and Sodus Point. Discussions range on every conceivable topic to do with the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence watershed. Appendix G reproduces the questions and summarizes responses to the survey PIAG distributed at all meetings, revealing that the public prefers receiving Study news roughly every three months by newsletter or email. Summer is the ideal time to hold public meetings. Several organizations want to continue discussion with PIAG. Appendix H (34 pp.) compiles the (roughly) 80 comments it received on the economic, social, and environmental performance indicators developed by the Technical Work Groups (TWGs), along with suggestions for additional performance indicators. The Environmental TWG received the most input, followed by the Coastal Processes, Recreational Boating, Hydrology and Hydraulics, Commercial Navigation, Hydroelectric Power, and Water Uses TWGs. For each comment or suggestion, the TWGs respond at length.

International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Study Board: PIAG Report for Study Tears Two and Three
Public Interest Advisory Group
2004/07/01

The IJC formed the binational, volunteer-led Public Interest Advisory Group (PIAG) simultaneously with the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Study Board in 2000. The PIAG’s mandate is to create awareness of the Study, educate the public regarding the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence system, and to consider and represent the interests and “natural knowledge” of the public. It communicates the message that water levels and flows cannot be controlled in such a way as to satisfy “all interests all of the time.” The report debriefs on the eight member meetings, nine public meetings, and fifty-one local stakeholder meetings_x000D_ PIAG conducted during years two and three of the five-year Study. Special outreach was conducted at Akwesasne and Kahnawake, involving radio talk shows, newspaper notices, open houses, and meetings. The Mohawk communities are in general strongly wary of water regulation of any kind because of the adverse impacts it has on myriad aspects of the environment and Mohawk culture. PIAG has extended an invitation to the Mohawks of Tyendinaga to hear their concerns about water levels as well. Surveys reveal that the public prefers receiving Study news roughly every three months by newsletter or email, and that summer is the ideal time to hold public meetings. PIAG produced five volumes of its newsletter Ripple Effects, sending them to its 4,400-person mailing list. It recorded a video of their “Year Three” presentation that was broadcast in the Rochester area. Other public outreach tools include the PIAG Speakers’ Bureau, an ever-growing database of contacts, a list serve, and an online discussion forum. PIAG gathered input on the economic, social, and environmental performance indicators developed by the Technical Work Groups (TWGs), and prepared responses to the 70 to 80 comments it received, compiled in Appendix H. It met with the Board of Control to review its communications strategy. The Plan Formulation and Evaluation Group (PFEG) helped PIAG gain a better understanding of the Shared Vision Model.

Volume 9. Ripple Effects Report International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Study Board
International Lake Ontario-St.Lawrence River Study Board
2004/07/01

The IJC created the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Study (“the Study”) in December 2000 to examine the current scheme to regulate outflows from Lake Ontario through the St. Lawrence River, based on the original 1956 Order of Approval. The IJC appointed the Public Interest Advisory Group (PIAG) composed of volunteers to ensure effective communication between the public and the Study Team. This ninth volume of the Advisory Group’s newsletter Ripple Effects reports that Environment Canada, Quebec Region, has identified the Study as a regional priority in the context of clean, safe and reliable water supplies. In May 2004, the St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Sciences in Cornwall in partnership with the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne hosted the 11th Annual International Conference, “Managing our Waters: Great Lakes/St. Lawrence River Ecosystem.” Scientists presented models to predict impacts of water level changes on wetland plants and submerged plants, and to estimate habitat suitability and reproductive success for a selected list of wetland bird species. Other projects include an evaluation of water levels’ effects on water treatment plants (both wastewater and drinking water) in the Lower St. Lawrence; a hydrologic model of the St. Lawrence from the Kingston area to the Cornwall/Massena dam; and projects carried out by the Study’s various Technical Work Groups (TWGs). The Study’s new Information Management Strategy includes a document management system, web mapping, and a web portal. The newsletter summarizes the results of the Recreational Boating and Tourism TWG survey of recreational boaters. The Advisory Group reviews and responds to feedback received on the Study Board’s draft performance indicators; the Coastal Processes and Environmental TWGs received the greatest number of suggestions. Concerns ranged from loss of land and property to the well-being of wetland habitats, fish, macro-invertebrates, herpetiles, waterfowl and migratory birds, as well as other issues outside the scope of the Study. The Public Interest Advisory Group invites the public to attend one of a series of summer meetings (listed) to voice their thoughts and concerns as regards the Study. This input will be integrated into the recommendations that the Study Board will make to the IJC in 2005.

Volume 8. Ripple Effects Report International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Study Board
International Lake Ontario-St.Lawrence River Study Board
2004/05/01

The IJC created the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Study (“the Study”) in December 2000 to examine the current scheme to regulate outflows from Lake Ontario through the St. Lawrence River, based on the original 1956 Order of Approval. The IJC appointed the Public Interest Advisory Group (PIAG) composed of volunteers to ensure effective communication between the public and the Study Team. This eighth volume of the Advisory Group’s newsletter Ripple Effects discusses the history of “shared vision planning” to inform the involvement of diverse stakeholders implicated in the Study. Graphics-based and simulation modeling has proven useful in river basin management and planning programs elsewhere in the U.S. The Study has adopted a Shared Vision Model using STELLA software. While some Technical Work Groups (TWGs) translate their data into economic terms, the Environmental TWG is using the Shared Vision Model and research data to show decision makers the effects that proposed regulation plans will have on various human and environmental interests. The TWGs supplied the Plan Formulation and Evaluation Group (PFEG) with performance indicator (PI) functions. The PFEG began formulating regulation plans and a tradeoff process to be tested using the Model. In November 2003 the Study Team met with Chiefs and community members of the Mohawks of Kahnawake. The St. Lawrence Seaway has greatly affected the Kahnawake community and environment ever since its construction. Community members voiced concerns regarding fish and wildlife, agricultural chemicals and deposited sediment, water treatment infrastructure, recreational boating, and potential widening of the Seaway. The Public Interest Advisory Group invites the public to attend one of a series of summer meetings (listed) to voice their thoughts and concerns as regards the Study. The newsletter lists contact information and members of the PIAG Speakers Bureau.

Minutes of the 156th Meeting Great Lakes Water Quality Board 2004/04/20 Arlington, VA
Great Lakes Water Quality Board
2004/04/20

The document records the minutes of the 156th, five-hour meeting of the IJC’s Water Quality Board (WQB), held April 20th, 2004 in Arlington, Vermont. Thomas Skinner (USEPA) and John Mills (Environment Canada) co-chaired. Jim Smith (Ontario MOE) is a new WQB member, while Marty Bratzel (IJC) retired. The Board discussed the second draft of “Principles for Review of Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA)” and its transmission memo. Copies of the Phase III Pollution Probe report advising on GLWQA review were distributed for information useful for the Principles document. The Board reviewed the IJC’s draft 12th Biennial Report and recommended consistency in format, more detail, clarification of purpose, and improved audience targeting. The IJC assigned the WQB to advise on Remedial Action Plans, delisting certain Areas of Concern, and implementing Lakewide Management Plans for the Great Lakes. A subgroup will define the WQB’s role in addressing these Annex 2 tasks, especially in creating a subset of quantitative endpoints for Beneficial Use Impairments (BUI). The Canada-Ontario Agreement has aided BUI establishment. The Board’s discussed visiting a Canadian Area of Concern, but opted for a roundtable discussion with Canadian RAP coordinators, scheduled adjacent to the next Great Lakes Binational Toxics Strategy meeting in Toronto in June.

Status Report on the Activities of the International Red River Board 2004
International Red River Board
2004/04/19

This status report highlights activities of the International Red River Board (IRRB) from October 2003 to April 2004. Summer in 2003 in the Red River basin was generally dry. Heavy spring rains on frozen soil contributed to rapid runoff, leading to flooding of agricultural lands. Flood alerts were issued to several communities, and numerous roads and bridges closed. A major ice jam downstream of Selkirk, Manitoba caused rapid rise in water levels, forcing evacuation of forty cottages. Flood levels were especially high in north-eastern North Dakota; they have been receding since April 10th. R. Halliday & Associates completed their survey and analysis of flood preparedness and mitigation activities following the Living with the Red report (2000); the IRRB is assessing the survey findings. The Pembina Study Team’s report investigates unresolved drainage and flooding issues in the Pembina River basin, reviewing control measures implemented to date and recommending flood proofing, set-back levees, and drainage system adjustments to accommodate natural flows. A hog farm proposal in the Municipality of Stanley was withdrawn thanks to the new Notification Protocol for Intensive Livestock Operations proposing to locate near the international boundary. Manitoba Conservation requested the IRRB to consider setting new water quality objectives for nitrogen and phosphorous in addition to the five already in place. The North Dakota Health Department will host a workshop to discuss nutrient loading into the Red River. The IRRB’s Aquatic Ecosystem Health Committee (AEHC) held a workshop to discuss biological monitoring and reference conditions. A replacement conductivity meter and probe will be installed in the automatic water quality monitor located at Emerson (MB), following detection of data anomalies. The validity of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) discharge permit and an additional drain permit to the ND State Water Commission to construct a $28M emergency outlet from Devils Lake is currently under litigation in North Dakota State court. Manitoba says it will no longer cooperate with North Dakota on water issues nor consult State officials on provincial water projects. The Bureau of Reclamation is performing a comprehensive study of water needs and options in the Red River Valley, including an environmental impact statement (EIS), as directed by the Dakota Water Resources Act of 2000 (DWRA) authorizing the Red River Valley Water Supply Project. Manitoba instituted its Manitoba Water Strategy, Drinking Water Safety Act, and Water Protection Act, and established the Department of Water Stewardship, the Manitoba Water Council, and a Water Stewardship Partnership Fund. The IRRB will present its revised work plan at the 2004 IRRB annual meeting, July 13-15 in Devils Lake, North Dakota. One priority is to augment leadership through the AEHC on ecosystem health goals and monitoring objectives.

Annual Report to the International Joint Commission from the International Osoyoos Lake Board of Control for Calendar Year 2003
International Osoyoos Lake Board of Control
2004/04/01

The IJC established the International Osoyoos Lake Board of Control (the Board) in 1986 to carry out the provisions of the IJC’s December 1982 Order of Approval and October 1985 Supplementary Order. This is the Board’s report to IJC for activities accomplished in 2003. On April 8th the Board advised the Washington State Department of Ecology (WADOE) that drought conditions for operating Osoyoos Lake would be invoked between April 1st and October 31st. The Board published the drought declaration on its website and in newspapers. Throughout the designated drought period, all three drought criteria set forth in Condition 8 of the Order were met. It received no public complaint. Also on April 8th the Board participated in a video teleconference with the IJC to discuss the Board’s preparation for Order renewal. On May 5th, the State of Washington and the Province of British Columbia reached an informal agreement to transfer the top one-half foot of Osoyoos Lake drought storage to Okanagan Lake and/or Skaha Lake (located upstream), thereby limiting the maximum level on Osoyoos Lake to 912.5 feet for the duration of the drought period. This is intended to prevent the top half foot from harming tourism, groundwater, and shoreline properties. High river discharges and stages created backwater conditions in the Okanogan River for twenty-two days, but not enough to cause Osoyoos Lake levels to rise above the authorized range, as they had in May and June 2002. A flow in excess of 2,500 cfs was not observed this year, so the capacity of the outlet channel did not have to be verified. Hydrographs juxtapose recorded lake elevations with authorized normal and drought elevations. Appendix I contains data on Osoyoos Lake and Okanogan River elevations, inflows, outflows, and discharges, noting the international gaging stations in use. The Board met on September 9th in Osoyoos, B.C. Topics of discussion included channel capacity below Osoyoos Lake, the re-issuance of the Osoyoos Lake Orders of Approval, and hydrologic conditions. Following presentations at the public meeting which followed, members of the public made suggestions for the Order renewal process. The report appends a Board membership directory.

Statement by the Honorable Dennis Schornack U.S. Section Chair, International Joint Commission on Ballast Water Management
Dennis Schornack
2004/03/25

This is the transcription of the speech made by Dennis Schornack, Chair of the U.S. section of the IJC, on March 25, 2004 to the IJC’s Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee and the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee in the United States. Mr. Schornack reiterates the function and purpose of the IJC. In 1988 the IJC and the Great Lakes Fishery Commission first alerted governments to the threat posed by the newly discovered zebra mussel that had arrived in the Great Lakes via ballast water from foreign ships, following which they jointly submitted a report on how best to respond to the threat of aquatic invasive species. Tremendous ecological and economic damage derives from ballast water-mediated transfers of invasive species. The tally of non-native species in the Great Lakes nears 200, a new invader discovered every eight months. Most invaders originate from Eurasia’s Ponto-Caspian Basin via the Baltic Sea and Black Sea and Azov Sea estuaries. A map shows one direct and four indirect invasion corridors from Asia and Europee. The near death of Lake Erie in June 1969 threatens to repeat. Efforts to combat alien invasives should prioritize the Great Lakes, which has clear boundaries and limited variables. The pending National Aquatic Invasive Species Act of 2003 (NAISA) would institute a ballast water discharge standard. The NAISA legislation provides for a Reference to the IJC to recommend ways to harmonize policies, rules, procedures and regulations in both countries to protect the shared waters of the Great Lakes. Ratification of the standard developed by the U.S. Coast Guard and bilaterally approved in the February 2004 International Maritime Organization (IMO) Convention is unclear. Schornack discusses certain Articles of the IMO Convention and urges Congress to pass and enforce NAISA.

Summary Document from the Clean Areas & Prevention of Significant Deterioration Workshop
International Air Quality Advisory Board
2004/02/23

This is the summary document of a workshop on Keeping Clean Areas Clean (Canada) and Prevention of Significant Deterioration (U.S.) which the IAQAB recommended in Summary of Critical Air Quality Issues in the Transboundary Region (Jan. 2004). Federal, provincial, state, and academic Board representatives assembled. Three distinct themes for transboundary air quality issues emerged: (1) building on existing programs and partnerships; (2) reviewing and enhancement of regulatory processes; and (3) creating a border region approach. Three key challenges/opportunities were identified—(1) the defining of ‘clean’; (2) the role of science; and (3) possible policy approaches—and eight critical areas in need of binational attention: (1) a review of integrated and inventory monitoring; (2) a border-area pilot project region for air quality data compilation and assessment; (3) identification of Keeping Clean economic benefits; (4) continued improvement of cross-border communications; (5) consideration of ways to encourage Canadian participation in U.S. Regional Planning Organizations; (6) application of common metrics and measurement protocols and outcomes across the border regions; (7) development of relationships among those with responsibility for parks and designated areas and those managing the Keeping Clean implementation in Canada; and (8) improvement in the processes and procedures for cross-border interventions and cooperation in addressing environmental concerns related to new emission sources with transboundary impacts.

Volume 7. Ripple Effects Report International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Study Board
International Lake Ontario - St.Lawrence River Study Board
2004/02/01

The IJC created the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Study (“the Study”) in December 2000 to examine the current scheme to regulate outflows from Lake Ontario through the St. Lawrence River, based on the original 1956 Order of Approval. The IJC appointed the Public Interest Advisory Group (PIAG) composed of volunteers to ensure effective communication between the public and the Study Team. This seventh volume of PIAG’s newsletter Ripple Effects states the Study Board’s Vision, Goals, and Guidelines. In September 2003 Commissioner Brooks and members of PIAG, the Study Board, and the TWGs flew in a helicopter over the St. Lawrence River to gain a deeper appreciation of the ecosystem. Topics of discussion at the PIAG’s public meeting in Dorval, Quebec included the emergency release of water through the Moses-Saunders Dam during the August power blackout, climate change, economics, and perceived favouring of Lake Ontario interests. Another public meeting occurred in Greece, NY. A new report by the Hydrology and Hydraulic Technical Working Group (TWG) integrates 52 years’ historical data with hydrologic models to simulate four climate change scenarios that could lower water levels in the Great Lakes system (map diagrams provided). Study members participated in the September meeting of Save Our Sodus, an organization concerned with deteriorating water quality in Sodus Bay. The Plan Formulation and Evaluation Group (PFEG) used an early version of the Shared Vision Model to simulate the water releases and levels produced by eight regulation plans, categorizing criteria by stakeholder proponent. It chose one plan as a “practice decision,” a year and a half before the Board must recommend options to the IJC. PIAG public meetings are tentatively scheduled for the summer. The newsletter lists contacts and members of the PIAG Speakers Bureau. It invites readers to participate in a revamped online discussion forum.

Summary of Critical Air Quality Issues in the Transboundary Region
International Air Quality Advisory Board
2004/01/01

This report by the International Air Quality Advisory Board to the International Joint Commission outlines seven key issues concerning air quality in the transboundary region, as well as recommendations on steps to address them. Though many persistent toxic substances (PTSs) are diminishing in the atmosphere, they are being replaced by other pollutants, such as mercury, atrazine, and the new class of hazardous persistent compounds. Scientific assessment of the gaps in present knowledge of PTSs and an evaluation of new hazardous substances are needed, as well as a review of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement to include new pollutants. Global mercury emissions remain relatively unchanged, as North American reductions have been offset by increased contributions from Asia. The Canadian and U.S. governments should continue supporting mercury reduction efforts and pursue global agreement on a similar program. New standards for ozone and particulate matter levels require new control strategies in both countries, particularly setting benchmarks for reduction and addressing emissions from internal combustion engines. Nitrogen oxide emissions are still problematic, since reduction efforts have been countered by economic growth; further coordinated efforts are needed to reduce emissions and address the effects of atmospheric nitrogen. Methods to maintain the air quality of non-urban, relatively clean areas should be encouraged, specifically focused on reducing atmospheric haze. Further development of public information programs should also be encouraged, and both governments should collaborate on programs over the Internet and elsewhere to increase public interest in air quality. Finally, monitoring programs and emissions inventories require renewal, and a more collaborative model should be pursued. Both governments need to assess present monitoring programs to determine which ones remain useful and which should be abandoned, and further support from industries for pollutant monitoring should be acquired.

Sixty-Second Annual Report to the International Joint Commission from the International Columbia River Board of Control for Calendar Year 2003
International Columbia River Board of Control
2004/01/01

The Order of the International Joint Commission dated December 15, 1941, in the matter of the Application of the United States for Approval of the construction and operation of the Grand Coulee Dam and reservoir (Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake), provided for the creation of an engineering board to be known as the International Columbia River Board of Control, to which the undersigned have been duly appointed. The order provides that the Board shall conduct studies under the supervision of the Commission as to the effect of the operation of Grand Coulee Dam and Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake upon water levels at and above the international boundary, and shall submit a report to the Commission annually.

Great Lakes Fish Consumption Advisories: Public Health Benefits and Risks
Health Professionals Task Force
2004/01/01

This IJC Health Professionals Task Force (HPTF) paper aims to stimulate a review of the current approaches to advising the public about fish consumption in the U.S. and Canada through consideration of human toxicants and their biologic effects, data on human consumption patterns of Great Lakes fish, fish contaminant levels for mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls, and verbal and written testimony from public health experts, state and federal regulatory agencies, environmental organizations, and concerned citizens from both countries. The advisories themselves were collected and several of the current approaches used were assessed with the objective of providing guidance to the Commisioners. The HPTF recommends that the IJC support a more effective approach to the development of fish consumption advisories, through better protection of those people at risk, without deterring the majority of people from fish consumption. To develop such an approach, environmental monitoring and exposure assessments (to track trends in persistent organic pollutants) are urgently needed. Dietary exposures and their associated risk factors can be accurately determined and communicated to appropriate at-risk populations. While the HPTF focused on two of the four major pollutants (i.e., mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls) found in the Great Lakes, members are also of the opinion that to adequately protect Great Lakes fish eaters there is a need to monitor a variety of other groups of chemicals. Members of the HPTF believe in primary prevention, which demands that efforts are continued to reduce contaminant levels in all Great Lakes fish. Through better awareness and education about fish consumption advisories, improved public health could be achieved.

Flood Preparedness & Mitigation in the Red River Basin
International Red River Board
2003/10/30

In Living with the Red (2000) the IJC made 28 recommendations and endorsed another thirty made by the Red River Basin Task Force, 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 Red River flood, governments have spent hundreds of millions of dollars towards improved flood preparedness and mitigation. The IRRB contracted R. Halliday & Associates to survey relevant agencies and organizations (see questionnaire, Appendix Two). The twenty-six out of 110 responses received form the basis of R. Halliday’s analysis. Completed and ongoing accomplishments include development of complex hydraulic models, Manitoba’s new designated flood area regulation, improved public data policies (Canada), policy changes by the Army Corps of Engineers, Red River Floodway expansion, formation of international institutions, improved flood forecasting, identification of high risk areas (U.S.), riparian conservation reserves, and a greenway on the Red. Some upgraded city emergency response plans will be tested in 2004. Rural protection efforts, such as major levees at Grand Forks and East Grand Forks, near completion. The IJC recommendations that have achieved the most success are structural measures, followed by those aimed at a specific agency. There has been success in keeping water away from people, but less in keeping people away from water. Collective flood management is a matter of urgency. IJC recommendations on biota transfer and groundwater contamination have yet to be addressed. The report suggests the IJC and IRRB focus on matters pertaining to the transboundary area, especially the Roseau and Pembina Rivers; flooding’s effects on the environment and on Lake Winnipeg; storage of hazardous goods; and development basin resiliency indicators. Additional recommendations to the IRRB, governments, and specific agencies are grouped under non-structural measures, institutional development, technical matters, and research. Long-term basin resiliency requires significantly augmented interagency and intergovernmental cooperation.

July '03 Meeting of the International Air Quality Advisory Board Offices of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers St. Paul, Minnesota 2003/07/28
International Air Quality Advisory Board
2003/10/28

These are the minutes for a meeting held by the International Air Quality Advisory Board in St. Paul, Minnesota on 28 July 2003. Board members and IJC staff were present. Topics of discussion include pilot projects under the Border Air Quality Strategy; editing the “Special Report;” preparing a report on air quality in Detroit-Windsor, Sarnia-Port Huron, and Sault Ste. Marie; reviewing Annex 15 (Atmospheric Transport) of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement; Mexican representation at the Long Range Transport workshop; data from the Maunaa Loa Hawaii and NOAA air quality monitoring site in San Francisco; presenting Hybrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory (HYSPLIT) modeling during the Mercury Workshop at the IJC Biennial Meeting; tracking the Water Quality Board’s Climate Change initiative; preparing a regional consideration of emissions from electrical utilities; the IJC Energy Symposium; and recognizing Canadian Chair Don McKay’s service to the Board. An August 2004 conference call will discuss the Special Report/Critical Issues report. The next meeting will be in January 2004.

IJC St. Marys River Stage 2 Remedial Action Plan Reivew
International Joint Commission
2003/10/23

St. Marys River is designated as an Area of Concern (AOC), a geographic area that fails to meet the objectives of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA). The Canadian and U.S. governments in cooperation with state and provincial governments must develop and implement Remedial Action Plans (RAPs) for AOCs. They submit the RAP to the IJC for comment at three stages. A Stage 2 RAP generates remedial and regulatory measures to address problems in the AOC. This document reviews government’s Stage 2 RAP for St. Marys River. The RAP evaluates existing remedial measures to control point source pollution from sewer separation, Algoma Steel Incorporated’s filtration plant, an oxygen furnace emissions project, a blast furnace contact water recirculation facility, St. Marys Paper Limited’s secondary treatment facility, and tannery waste materials from the Cannelton Industries Incorporated site. The RAP’s recommendations include monitoring systems for stormwater and contaminant discharges from water pollution control plants (WPCPs), commitment to initiate these and other monitoring programs is not yet clear. The RAP details Sault Ste. Marie’s (Ontario) project to install sewage overflow tanks, increase primary treatment capacity, add secondary treatment to the East End WPCP, and rehabilitate high-infiltration sewers. It recommends some sixty alternative actions. Some of these more accurately fall under Stage 1 requirements to quantify environmental problems. The RAP postpones scheduling and assigning responsibility for implementation. Although the RAP successfully embodies an ecosystem approach, it jeopardizes adequate public consultation by cutting funding to its Binational Public Advisory Council. Additional work is needed to fulfill Stage 2 requirements, following which the IJC will reassess the RAP.

Publications_Title_72
International Joint Commission
2003/09/20

This is a transcription of presentations and discussions at the 2003 Great Lakes Conference and IJC Biennial Meeting, held on September 20, 2003. The overarching themes are mechanisms for Great Lakes restoration, and the roles of various agencies and organizations in addressing priority issues. Presentations are made on behalf of Senators, the Environmental Protection Agency, Environment Canada, the Environmental Protection Service, the Council of Great Lakes Industries, Great Lakes United, the Council of Great Lakes Governors, the Great Lakes Commission, the International Association of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Mayors, IJC Chairs and Commissioners, and IJC Boards. Speakers from the audience include an author of books on the Great Lakes and representatives of government, the Lake Erie Clean-up Committee, Great Lakes United, Detroit River Remedial Action Council, Ohio Environmental Council, Detroit Wastewater Treatment Plant, Friends of the Buffalo and Niagara Rivers, Macomb County, Halton Region, Bay Area Restoration Council, and the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Office. Numerous institutional mechanisms, coalitions, and arrangements have been formed to address Great Lakes environmental issues, the newest of which are the Great Lakes Cities Initiative, the Great Lakes Environmental Restoration Act, and the Great Lakes Legacy Act. Others discussed include the National Aquatic Invasive Species Act, the Great Lakes Strategy (2002), the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, the State of the Lakes Ecosystem Conference (SOLEC), the Canada-Ontario Agreement, the Great Lakes Governors Priorities Task Force, the Great Lakes Consolidation Collection Monitoring Act, the Federal Water Resources Planning Act (1967), the Great Lakes Basin Compact, the Great Lakes Sea Grant, the Great Lakes Charter, the Great Lakes Binational Toxic Strategy, Lakewide Management Programs (LaMPs) and Remedial Action Programs (RAP), the Canadian Information System for the Environment, Project HYPO on Lake Erie, the International Field Year of the Great Lakes (IFYGL) on Lake Ontario, the Clean Water Act, the Great Lakes Fisheries Acts (1956, 1985), the Great Lakes Fishery Ecosystem and Restoration Program, the Water Resources Development Act (2000), the Lake Erie Millenium Network, research consortiums, and more. Recurrent topics include alien invasive species, habitat, chemicals of concern, zero discharge, surveillance and monitoring, the economy, and urbanization. Speakers deliberate on the continuing relevance of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, and consider whether the sheer number of government bodies and organizations involved in Great Lakes management and restoration is cumbersome or necessary. Great Lakes United surveyed citizens and created an action agenda, “the Green Book,” identifying current and needed actions on seven priority issues: toxic cleanup, clean production, green energy, sustaining and restoring water quantities and flows, protection and restoration of species and habitat, and water and air quality standards. The IJC recognizes it is sometimes necessary to adopt a precautionary approach and take preventative steps even in absence of scientific consensus, where prudence is essential to protect the public welfare. Each IJC Board presents its current activities. The first “Scientist of the Biannual Award” goes to Dr. Jan Ciborowski, a Professor at the University of Windsor, for his studies of the Lake Erie dead zone; Dr. Ciborowski discusses the Lake Erie Millenium Network at length.

International Niagara River Board of Control Minutes of the 2003/09/16 Meeting
International Niagara River Board of Control
2003/09/16

The International Niagara Board of Control (INBoC) met on September 16, 2003 in Niagara Falls, ON. Points discussed: (1) Lake Erie levels (up from September 2002 but below the long-term average [LTA]—for Sept—and are expected to remain so for the next six months; precipitation 1% above Mar-Aug LTA) and Niagara River flows (384m3[13,560ft3]/sec lower for Mar-Aug LTA); (2) Chippawa-Grass Island Pool Control Structure: accumulated deviations were +0.50 metre-months (+1.64 foot-months), within the maximum allowable of +/-0.91 metre-months (+/-3.0 foot-months); some suspensions took place in response to the electrical energy emergency (during which it was noted there was no power loss, and its response to which the Board will present to the IJC in Ottawa in Oct./Nov.); (3) completed discharge measurements to verify gauge ratings; (4) Robert Moss Niagara Power Plant upgrades (Unit 7 is on schedule to return in Oct., three others remain to be upgraded; program TBC in fall 2006; testing of other units scheduled for April 2004); (5) the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) re-licensing of the New York Power Authority’s Niagara Power Project is proceeding; (6) upgrade of Ontario Power Generation’s Sir Adam Beck II Generating Station Unit TBC in December; (7) Province of Ontario has directed that construction of a third tunnel in Ontario Power Generation’s Niagara facilities proceed; a fourth tunnel possible also; (8) the Board’s 101st Semi-Annual Progress Rpt. to the IJC was reviewed; (9) Ice Boom Report (2002-03)—2nd draft—was circulated and approved for finalization; (10) A Board annual public meeting was held on Sept. 15 in Niagara Falls with four attendees; (11) Board will update the Commission in Oct. on restoration of wetlands at Beaver Island (Grand Island, NY); and (12) the Board agreed to meet in spring 2004 in the U.S., TBA.

International Niagara River Board of Control One Hundred First Semi-Annual Progress Report to the International Jont Commission
International Niagara River Board of Control Minutes of the 2003/09/16 Meeting
2003/09/16

Average precipitation for the Lake Erie basin for the reporting period resulted in lake levels rising to slightly below average by the end of August 2003 (Section 2). Niagara River flows continue to be below average and were about 7 percent below those experienced during the same period in 2002 (Section 5). The level of the Chippawa-Grass Island Pool was regulated in accordance with the International Niagara Board of Control’s 1993 Directive (Section 3). The Directive was revised in May 2003 to incorporate a clarification for tolerance suspension during emergency situations. The International Niagara Control Works were operated in conjunction with diversions to the Ontario Power Generation and the New York Power Authority to provide additional water to maximize hydroelectric power generation at Niagara during the mid-August electrical energy emergency (Section 4). The Power Entities (Ontario Power Generation and the New York Power Authority) continue with their generation upgrade programs to increase hydroelectric power production at Niagara (Section 8). The New York Power Authority’s re-licensing process is at the stage where the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the license granting body, held the initial public scoping meeting in August 2003. The Province of Ontario has directed Ontario Power Generation to proceed with the first phase of the Sir Adam Beck expansion project, a new tunnel to increase diversion capacity, and has engaged a consultant to study further expansion at that site. Opening of the Lake Erie-Niagara River Ice Boom was delayed beyond April 1 due to the extensive amount of ice remaining in eastern Lake Erie (Section 9). Favourable weather conditions acted to disperse the ice over the next week resulting in rapid melting. As a result, ice boom opening and removal began on April 10 and was completed on April 11. Due to severe conditions prior to and during the February 4, 2003 storm and the resulting damage to the boom and its components, the maintenance required this summer was much more than normal. Thirteen span cables and numerous hardware components (clamps, shackles, etc.) needed replacement, and several floatation barrels were repaired. A Power Entities’ study is underway to investigate the factors involved in the failure of twelve spans during an early February 2003 storm event.

International Lake Superior Board of Control Semi-Annual Progress Report to the International Joint Commission
International Lake Superior Board of Control
2003/09/15

During the past six months, the Lake Superior and Lakes Michigan-Huron water levels remained well below average and near or below chart datum. Lake Superior levels were comparable to those in 2000, while Lakes Michigan-Huron levels were comparable to those in 2001. Shipping, recreation, and shoreline interests continued to be impacted as levels remained at or below chart datum throughout the upper lakes.

CD: Priorites 2001-2003: Priorities & Progress under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement
SAB,WQB,CGLRM,IAQAB
2003/09/01

The IJC establishes Priorities for each biennial cycle based on research and guidance by its Great Lakes Science Advisory Board (SAB), Great Lakes Water Quality Board (WQB), Council of Great Lakes Research Managers (CGLRM), and International Air Quality Advisory Board (IAQAB), whose roles have evolved as functions of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA). The IJC then allocates responsibility for each priority; often two or more of the boards collaborate. In 2001-2003, the SAB and AQB developed an ecosystem approach to addressing health effects of mercury exposure, requiring further mercury emissions reductions, retro- and prospective epidemiological studies of at-risk subpopulations, nearshore sediment/soil studies, and large scale modeling techniques to monitor atmospheric deposition. Annex 2 advisory staff with the SAB and WQB continued efforts to help Parties develop and implement Remedial Action Plans (RAPs) and Lakewide Mangement Plans (LaMPs). The Hamilton Harbour and Detroit River RAPs need tripartite administration and funding arrangements. The SAB renewed investigation on land use impacts with an Expert Consultation on urbanization. Another Expert Consultation examined emerging issues in the Great Lakes, recommending binational monitoring mechanisms, an Integrated Great Lakes Observing System, an International Field Year for Great Lakes Research, and Quantitative Structure Activity Relationships. The WQB and CGLRM studied climate change’s impacts in the Great Lakes Basin. Further priorities and initiatives included Lake Erie ecosystem changes, a botulism Type E outbreak, Great Lakes system navigation review, health implications of PCBs and other contaminants, fish and wildlife contamination and human exposure to it, Great Lakes fisheries concerns, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s study of hazardous substances’ health implications in U.S. Areas of Concern (AOCs), waterborne pathogens, microbial pollution, unmonitored chemical contaminants, the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Research Inventory, and science vessel coordination. The Boards/Councils make twenty-nine recommendations.

2002-2003 Operation of the Lake Erie - Niagara River Ice Boom: A report to the International Niagara River Control Board by the International Niagara River Working Committee
International Niagara River Working Committee
2003/09/01

Installation of the Lake Erie - Niagara River ice boom’s 22 spans began on 11 December and was completed on 12 December, 2002. An ice cover began forming behind the boom during the second week of January 2003. A major breach of the ice boom occurred during a storm event on 4 February when 12 of the boom’s 22 spans were opened. Closure of the boom was completed on 26 February, 2003. Ice boom removal was accomplished on 10-11 April with all spans at their summer storage area by 15 April. Representatives of the International Niagara Working Committee conducted two helicopter flights to measure ice thickness and one fixed-wing flight to observe ice coverage and conditions during the 2002-2003 season. Appendix “A” contains a description of the Lake Erie/Niagara River area. Appendix “B” gives background information on the ice boom. Findings and conclusions: a) Water temperature at Buffalo reached 4°C (39°F) on 3 December; b) The ice boom was installed on 11 – 12 December 2002 in accordance with the International Joint Commission's 1999 Supplementary Order of Approval; c) Lake Erie became ice covered by the end of January 2003; d) A major breach of the ice boom occurred during a storm event on 4 February with 12 of the boom's 22 spans opened; e) Removal of the ice boom spans was accomplished on 10 - 11 April, and the average length of time required to open and remove the ice boom spans for the period of record 1965 through 2003 is five days. Recommendations for the 2003-2004 Operation: a) The International Niagara Board of Control and its Working Committee should continue to monitor and assess the performance of the ice boom; b) Utilization of Great Lakes ice cover maps prepared by the National Ice Center, Maryland and Canadian Ice Centre, Ottawa supplemented by ice thickness measurements and aerial ice surveys to evaluate ice conditions throughout the winter should continue; in particular, this will assist in determining when to remove the ice boom; c) The Working Committee continues to produce ice area maps following aerial ice reconnaissance flights or determined from the composite ice maps; d) The Working Committee should continue to liaise with the United States and Canadian Coast Guards regarding ice boom installation and removal operations.

Volume 6. Ripple Effects Report International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Study Board
International Lake Ontario-St.Lawrence River Study Board
2003/09/01

The IJC created the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Study Board in December 2000 to examine the current scheme to regulate outflows from Lake Ontario through the St. Lawrence River, based on the original 1952 (revised 1956) Order of Approval. The IJC appointed the Public Interest Advisory Group (PIAG) composed of volunteers to ensure effective communication between the public and the Study Team. This sixth volume of PIAG’s newsletter Ripple Effects focuses on performance indicator development. The Plan Formulation and Evaluation Group is integrating all Technical Work Group (TWG) research into a Shared Vision Model, and working to improve quantitative performance indicators, listed here for each TWG; comment is invited. The Environmental TWG continues its third year of data collection, completing fieldwork on several performance indicators, particularly as regards productivy and life cycles, as well as on the effects of water level regulations on muskrats, northern pike, and herpatiles. The International Water Levels Coalition organized a visit of Commissioner Brooks to Clayton, part of her orientation to the St. Lawrence area. They discussed low water levels and how the Board’s current study addresses such issues. PIAG held public meetings in Wilson, New York, and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. The Domestic, Industrial, and Municipal Water Uses TWG visited Akwesasne water filtration-purification stations. The power authorities involved in Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence regulation Hydro Quebec operate under different electrical system controls: Hydro Quebec is a 95%-hydropower, winter peak system, whereas Ontario Power Generation and New York Power Authority summer-peak and more based on nuclear and fossil-fired generation; therefore Hydro Quebec must develop an independent evaluation model. The Study Co-Managers field questions on the Year-One reports, dealing input regarding public meetings, funding, ballast dumping and foreign species, riparian interests, flood plain development, and the structure and organization of the Study.