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International Watersheds Initiative Projects Target Water Resources and Environment
IJC admin | 2016/11/14
By IJC staff
The International Watersheds Initiative (IWI) is an approach to resolving transboundary water issues grounded on the belief that local communities, given appropriate assistance, are best placed to achieve solutions. This approach recognizes that ecosystems function as whole entities and should be managed as such, rather than being bound by traditional political boundaries.
The underlying premise is that local people and institutions are often the best placed to anticipate, prevent or resolve problems related to water resources and the environment. Those include quantity issues like droughts, floods and flows, and quality issues like nutrient loading, chemical pollution and invasive species.
The Red River watershed. Credit: IJC files
There are 24 active IWI projects, as reported to commissioners during the IJC’s Fall Semi-Annual Meeting in Ottawa. Projects include:
Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River - A project to support wetland monitoring on the Canadian side of Lake Ontario and review an existing model used to evaluate the regulation plan for Lake Ontario water levels.
Lake of the Woods-Rainy River - A StreamStats project to provide instantaneous streamflow statistics within the Rainy-Lake of the Woods basin. The results could aid in the evaluation of water management appropriations, water quality, the health and abundance of aquatic species, and high and low-flow events.
Osoyoos Lake – Production of a 30-minute documentary film to explain water management issues and practices in the Okanagan River system, including Osoyoos Lake.
Souris and Red rivers – A Red River Stressor Project to develop nutrient objectives for the border between North Dakota, Minnesota and Manitoba.
St. Mary and Milk rivers – Development of an electronic data warehouse to store natural flow data for the transboundary river basins administered by the Accredited Officers of the St. Mary and Milk Rivers.
Stemming from the outcomes of an April 2016 multi-board IWI Workshop, a Climate Change Framework Working Group made up of members of various boards also is conducting a science review to help guide long-term board efforts.
About US$924,000 is being spent on IWI projects during the 2016 fiscal year, with funding from both countries.