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Less Algae in Lake Erie by 2015

IJC admin | 2012/11/09

The IJC’s Lake Erie Ecosystem Priority, or LEEP, is targeting excessive algae growth in Lake Erie. The plans are to develop recommendations for the Canadian and U.S. governments to measurably reduce dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP) loads and algae by the end of 2015. Read More »

What you'll find at the new (Infographic)

IJC admin | 2012/11/21

A lot of time and thought have gone into this latest version of, the first major redesign of the site in nine years. You should find the International Joint Commission’s new online home to be more appealing, and easier-to-use. Read More »

Osoyoos regulations may flex after 25 years

IJC admin | 2013/01/16

Flexibility is the operative word when it comes to the future regulation of Lake Osoyoos water levels in Washington state. The International Joint Commission has marked Feb. 22, 2013, on its calendar. On that day, the current IJC Orders of Approval for Lake Osoyoos are set to expire, after standing for more than 25 years. Read More »

New Tools Unify Water Data, Win Awards

IJC admin | 2013/02/04

In the last several years, hydrographic data has been standardized for the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Seaway and thousands of rivers and streams along the 5,000-mile (8,000-kilometer) border between Canada and the U.S. Stewards are beginning to use the same playbook when it comes to gathering and analyzing data to help prevent and resolve transboundary water issues. Read More »

This ‘Algae Thing’ Must Get Better in Lake Erie

IJC admin | 2013/03/27

Lake Erie is a priority for IJC. Our U.S. Section Chair, Lana Pollack of Ann Arbor, Michigan, spoke at the recent 8th Annual Lake Erie Waterkeeper Conference at Lourdes University in Sylvania, Ohio, to hammer that point home. Read More »

From Great Lakes Day: A Water Levels Fact Sheet

IJC admin | 2013/03/08

A two-page Fact Sheet on Great Lakes water levels was handed out at Great Lakes Day in Washington, D.C. See and download it here. Read More »

Preparing for Extreme Water Level Lows – and Highs – with Adaptive Management

IJC admin | 2013/04/04

The public has seen historic lows on the Great Lakes. Now comes a draft Adaptive Management Plan to address extreme lows --- and highs. The plan is a response to a changing climate and the limited ability to alter lake levels through regulation of flows from Lake Superior and Lake Ontario. It anticipates a future with extremes. Read More »

IJC Boards Report on New Lows, Averages and Highs

IJC admin | 2013/04/26

The work of the IJC is informed, supported and guided by the more than 20 boards that work in specific watersheds and along the Canadian-U.S. boundary. Twice a year, many of the boards appear before the IJC to report on progress, share current and forecasted basin conditions, and alert the Commission to emerging or ongoing issues of concern. During the IJC’s Spring Semi-Annual Meeting from April 15-18 in Washington, D.C., the boards reported on new lows, average and highs. Read More »

Commissioner Knott Concludes Service

IJC admin | 2013/05/10

Canadian Commissioner Lyall Knott has concluded a four-year term with the IJC. Knott was the lead Canadian commissioner for important IJC boards including those covering the Kootenay, Osoyoos, Red, Souris and St. Mary-Milk rivers. Read More »

Even with Structures, Changes to Great Lakes Water Levels Will Take Time

IJC admin | 2013/05/20

If you live in the Great Lakes region, chances are you’re anxious about continued low water levels, and what effect recent Advice to Governments from the IJC will have on the situation. The Lake Charlevoix Association recently sponsored a talk on the issue at Michigan’s Boyne City High School, which included U.S. Section Chair Lana Pollack. Read More »

Great Lakes Regional Office Director Dr. Saad Jasim Concludes Service

IJC admin | 2013/05/28

Dr. Saad Jasim has concluded three years of service as director of the IJC’s Great Lakes Regional Office (GLRO) in Windsor, Ontario. Read More »

16 Ways to Measure the Health of the Great Lakes

IJC admin | 2013/05/16

The 16th Biennial Report on Great Lakes Water Quality offers an update on how the health of the five lakes has changed since 1987, when the U.S. and Canadian governments signed the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. Coincidentally, the Report focuses on 16 indicators, selected by experts, on the chemical, physical and biological integrity of lakes Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior. Read More »

Celebrating 10 Years of Great Lakes Cooperation

IJC admin | 2013/06/05

The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, founded in 2003 by then-mayor Richard M. Daley of Chicago, is celebrating its 10th anniversary at an upcoming annual conference. The event, from June 19-21 in Marquette, Michigan, will feature climate change adaptation and shoreline management --- two issues central to the IJC’s focus, as well as economic development and mining issues. Read More »

New Great Lakes Director is a Water Vet

IJC admin | 2013/06/11

The IJC’s Great Lakes Regional Office in Windsor, Ontario, has a new executive director. Stephen Locke will be heading up the office beginning June 10. Locke comes to the IJC from Natural Resources Canada, where he served as director with the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Read More »

Explore the Science behind the International Upper Great Lakes Study

IJC admin | 2013/06/03

The IJC’s recently issued Advice to Governments plays out, the Study leaves behind five years of science that has set a new benchmark for peer-reviewed research on the Great Lakes. After all of the work and funding that went in the Study, the IJC (and the Study Board) wanted to make sure all of the data was preserved. Read More »

Give us your views on the new water regulation plan for the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence System

IJC admin | 2013/06/14

When it comes to updating a 50-year-old management plan, there are two critical ingredients – science and public input – and both take time. Getting the science right and making sure the public is heard are the key responsibilities of the International Joint Commission as they consider a new approach to water levels management for the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River system. That’s why the IJC is now asking for public input again, because the approach has been refined since the last round of comments from people throughout the region. Read More »

Tracking Invasive Species

IJC admin | 2013/06/18

Aquatic invasive species are said to be the second greatest threat to native biodiversity, next to habitat loss. The 18th International Conference on Aquatic Invasive Species, held recently in Niagara Falls, Ontario, examined this threat in detail. IJC scientists chaired two sessions on Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Risk Assessment, and participated on the conference’s technical program committee. Read More »

New Commissioners Will Tackle Tough Issues

IJC admin | 2013/06/27

Commissioner Bouchard, of Roberval, Quebec, and Commissioner Walker, of Toronto, Ontario, join the IJC at a busy time. U.S. and Canadian commissioners have navigated numerous issues recently and will be getting even busier in coming months. Read More »

How Can We Better Assess Water Quality? With Updated Advisory Boards

IJC admin | 2013/07/08

If you consider that the Great Lakes are the largest surface freshwater system on the planet, and that the lakes provide drinking water for millions of people, you’ll see that this is an activity that concerns us all, even if it may not sound too exciting. Read More »

Pick Up the Phone for Plan 2014 on Wednesday

IJC admin | 2013/07/09

If you can’t attend the public hearings in person --- from July 14-19 in New York, Ontario and Quebec --- make plans to join in Thursday. Can’t make it Thursday? Another phone meeting is being scheduled for the same time on July 24, and you can use the same phone number. Read More »

Floods and Fact-Finding for the Champlain and Souris Basins

IJC admin | 2013/07/29

This month, IJC commissioners sent a letter to leaders of the two governments, recommending a Plan of Study for the Lake Champlain and Richelieu River. This plan, estimated to cost $14 million over five years, would examine the causes and impacts of spring 2011 flooding on the lake and river, and develop possible mitigation measures. Read More »

IJC ‘Firsts’ for Great Lakes Week 2013

IJC admin | 2013/09/06

Great Lakes Week is when hundreds gather to share ideas and inspire region-wide action to protect and restore the world’s largest source of surface freshwater. This year, the week of Sept. 9-12 features two “first-ever” events in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Read More »

Record Number of People Hear Updates on Lake Superior Regulation, Expected Water Levels

IJC admin | 2013/09/10

Stakeholders on Michigan-Huron and Lake Superior both voiced concerns about how the current regulation plan balances the levels of their respective lake, with citizens on Superior concerned over recent gate openings and citizens on Michigan-Huron concerned over the consistent below-average releases over the past decade. Read More »

Kootenay Board Marks Order’s 75th Anniversary, Answers Questions on Dredging

IJC admin | 2013/10/01

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the IJC’s 1938 Order on Kootenay Lake. This was the first meeting in Canada since record-setting rain events in spring 2012 resulted in Kootenay Lake rising to its highest elevation since upstream flood control dams were built in the late 1960s and early ‘70s. Read More »

Recalling 2011 and 2012 IJC Activities, and Looking Ahead

IJC admin | 2013/09/19

Time flies when you’re a binational agency that advises Canada and the United States on transboundary water issues. Our latest Activities Report, covering 2011 and 2012, sums up what the IJC was up to in 2011 and 2012. Read More »

Osoyoos Board Implements New Order of Approval, Explains Lake Level Elevations

IJC admin | 2013/10/08

This was the first public Board meeting since the new IJC Supplementary Order was introduced in January, and there were several questions on the rationale behind new minimum and maximum lake elevations in the new Order and concerns over high water levels. Read More »

New York, Ontario Residents Join Together to Discuss St. Lawrence River Issues

IJC admin | 2013/10/30

The International St. Lawrence River Board of Control hosted its semi-annual public meeting and teleconference at the State University of New York in Oswego, N.Y., and concurrently at the Confederation Hotel in Kingston, Ontario. The board presented information describing the IJC, the Board, recent water supplies, recent and forecast water levels, and the Board’s current regulation strategy. The meeting also included an opportunity for public comment. Read More »

To Adapt, or Not? Time Runs Out on Aug. 30

IJC admin | 2013/08/27

Some reasons to consider a comment on a draft Adaptive Management Plan for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River system. This is the final step before the Commission makes recommendations to the Canadian and U.S. governments. Read More »

Souris River Board, Public Discuss Water Quantity and Quality

IJC admin | 2013/09/04

The International Souris River Board holds public meetings at least once a year to meet and talk with basin residents and other interested citizens. This year’s meeting, on Aug. 7, in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, focused on Board activities and objectives related to water management in the Souris River basin. Board members fielded questions from attendees and discussed current issues in the basin --- from drought to flooding, ecosystem health, and water apportionment. Read More »

Controlling Water Levels on Lake Michigan-Huron is a Tricky Business

IJC admin | 2013/10/17

At its annual meeting in Milwaukee, the Great Lakes Commission hosted an interesting panel discussion about the causes of fluctuating water levels, possible contributing factors (including increased conveyance through the St. Clair River), and the various impacts on Great Lakes environments and economies. Read More »

Take a Ride on the Public Engagement Highway

IJC admin | 2013/10/24

A newly updated Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement includes new mandates that we’ll be using to make IJC processes even more open and public-focused. The goal is to make the best decisions after considering the science, options and affected parties. Read More »

Niagara Board Describes Changes to Crest of Horseshoe Falls, Addresses Public Concerns

IJC admin | 2013/10/23

What’s happening to Horseshoe Falls? Is a new power tunnel going to drain Lake Erie? To offer an update on various priorities and projects, the International Niagara Board of Control hosted its annual public meeting and teleconference at the community center in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. Read More »

Commissioners Give Prominent Talks on Boundary Waters Treaty

IJC admin | 2013/11/07

In recent months, two IJC commissioners were invited to speak at prominent events in Paris, France, and London, Ontario. U.S. Section Chair Lana Pollack spoke on the history of the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909. Canadian Commission Gordon Walker spoke on how the Treaty has led to improved relations between Canada and the U.S. in relation to our shared waters. Read More »

Biennial ‘State of the Strait Conference’ Tackles Restoration Targets

IJC admin | 2013/11/14

The purpose of each year’s State of the Strait Conference is to bring people together that are concerned about the Detroit River and western Lake Erie watershed. Those who attend discuss current efforts to strengthen the linkage between science and policy, and share knowledge and lessons to help better manage this shared bioregion where nearly 7 million people live. Read More »

IJC Semi-Annual has New Date, Important Agenda

IJC admin | 2013/11/12

The IJC’s regular fall Semi-Annual Meeting will occur this winter, following a partial U.S. government shutdown in early October. The Semi-Annual, originally scheduled for the week of Oct. 21, will now be held on from Dec. 9-12 at the IJC’s Canadian Section Office in Ottawa, Ontario. Read More »

Lake of the Woods Water Quality Plans on Agenda for Semi-Annual

IJC admin | 2013/12/02

The IJC’s Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed Board is making progress on developing a water quality plan of study. Read More »

Sea Lamprey Videos Invade Great Lakes Database

IJC admin | 2013/12/02

The Great Lakes Fishery Commission’s website has been significantly expanded with the addition of an engaging, open-access video database. The videos chronicle sea lamprey in the wild, sea lamprey spawning, various aspects of the sea lamprey control program, and cutting-edge fisheries research. Read More »

More on IJC’s Great Lakes Wastewater Treatment Study and Removing Chemicals of Emerging Concern

IJC admin | 2013/12/11

A recent article published in the Water Quality Research Journal of Canada titled “Protecting Our Great Lakes: Assessing the Effectiveness of Wastewater Treatments for the Removal of Chemicals of Emerging Concern,” highlighted the work accomplished by the IJC’s Chemicals of Emerging Concern multi-board workgroup during the 2009-2011 priority cycle. The paper focused on wastewater treatment in the Great Lakes basin and its effectiveness in treating chemicals of emerging concern (CEC). Read More »

The Great Lakes Compact Still Needs Champions

IJC admin | 2013/12/16

People throughout the Great Lakes basin continue to be concerned about water levels, water diversions, and what can and can’t be controlled by the IJC and other agencies in Canada and the U.S. Lana Pollack, the IJC’s U.S. Section chair, recently spoke in Chicago at a conference of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL) on “Great Lakes Water Levels and State Roles in Addressing Water Withdrawals and the Future of the Great Lakes Compact." Read More »

2013 Resources from the IJC’s Fall Semi-Annual Meeting in Ottawa

IJC admin | 2013/12/17

A roundup of links to official Progress Reports submitted by some boards during their appearances before the Commission, and photos from Ottawa posted to our Flickr page. Read More »’s Greatest Hits of 2013

IJC admin | 2014/01/03

Here are some of the most-visited pages on for 2013. You might call this a “Best Of” compilation, since we’ve included items from our newsletter, along with specific sections, publications and news releases. Happy New Year! Read More »

The Great Lakes Are One Big Basin: Health and Environmental Data Should Be, Too

IJC admin | 2014/01/07

Health and environmental exposure data isn’t being collected in an ideal way, to allow public health and environmental scientists and managers easy access to examine and compare it across the Great Lakes basin. A report urges leaders in the two countries to make improvements that will allow scientists and others to better integrate data, and connect the dots between environmental risks and public health. Read More »

Dispatches from Ottawa: Good News, Good People, and Good Things to Come

IJC admin | 2014/01/02

A summary of highlights from the Fall Semi-Annual Meeting in Ottawa, Ontario. Overall, the news from the shared Canada-United States boundary was good. On balance, IJC boards charged with efforts to manage flows, water quality, and aquatic resources reported that people living along the waters shared by the two countries avoided extreme flooding and drought conditions. Read More »

Changing of the Guard: Canadian Chair Comuzzi departs; Commissioner Walker Assumes Responsibilities

IJC admin | 2014/01/23

After four years of service, the Hon. Joseph Comuzzi’s term as Canadian Chair of the International Joint Commission ended on Jan. 14, 2014. On Jan. 15, 2014, the government of Canada appointed Commissioner Gordon Walker as Acting Chair of the IJC’s Canadian Section. Read More »

Wetlands Get a Holiday: World Wetlands Day

IJC admin | 2014/01/31

World Wetlands Day on Feb. 2 marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands in 1971, an international treaty on the conservation of wetlands. Countries including Canada and the U.S. have joined. Read More »

Balancing the Economy and Environment in Great Lakes Waterways

IJC admin | 2014/02/06

The Great Lakes Waterways Conference is an ideal forum for hearing a wide variety of views on issues that affect all aspects of the Great Lakes, from transportation to recreation, ecosystems, and economics. Participants find that it provides the kind of perspective that everyone needs to truly understand the consequences of environmental management decisions. Read More »

A Plane with Lasers Helps Answer Questions About Rainy Lake Dams

IJC admin | 2014/02/14

A plane flew in the skies above Rainy Lake and the Namakan Reservoir, along the Canada-U.S. border at Ontario and Minnesota. The flight, late last year, was conducted to collect high-resolution bathymetry data on shoreline and bottom surfaces of the waterways. The point of the work is to support studies designed to allow managers to assess whether water levels are better, worse, or neutral under the 2000 rule curves for dam operations on the lake and reservoir, compared to previous rule curves from 1970. Read More »

The Value of Observations: The Great Lakes Evaporation Network

IJC admin | 2014/02/18

Surprising as it may sound, year-long, continuous direct measurements of evaporation from the Great Lakes were not made until a project funded by the federal governments of Canada and the United States through the IJC made it possible. A network of five offshore measurement locations operate simultaneously year-round, even through bitter winters, and have provided some fascinating results. Read More »

Lake of the Woods Study Team Moves Forward with Plans

IJC admin | 2014/03/03

The International Lake of the Woods Basin Water Quality Plan of Study Team will meet to develop a preliminary draft Plan of Study and seek expert input at a technical workshop in International Falls, Minnesota, on March 11-12. The IJC has appointed Dr. Glenn Benoy, senior water quality and ecosystem adviser with the IJC’s Canadian Section, as the Study Team’s new Canadian co-chair. Read More »

Events in Canada and U.S. mark World Water Day

IJC admin | 2014/03/18

World Water Day is March 22. The day was established in 1993 by the United Nations General Assembly to focus attention on the importance and sustainable use of fresh water around the globe. This year, World Water Day’s theme is “water and energy.” The UN predicts that by 2030, the growing global population will need 40 percent more water, and 50 percent more energy. Read More »

The Great Lakes in the Polar Vortex, 2013-14

IJC admin | 2014/03/14

Great Lakes water levels and quality can be affected by forces brewed thousands of kilometers (or miles) away. The unusually cold winter of 2013-14 illustrates this point. Three atmospheric-oceanic factors have combined to create record cold weather for 200 million North Americans from the Rockies to the Atlantic. Read More »

Lake Champlain Partnerships Provide High-Resolution Datasets for Flood Resilience

IJC admin | 2014/03/18

Record-setting water levels in Lake Champlain in spring of 2011, followed by devastating rain from tropical storms Irene and Lee later that year made it clear that regional flood prevention measures needed further development. Read More »

New Great Lakes Water Quality Boards to Build on History of Accomplishments

IJC admin | 2014/03/24

The IJC has revamped its Water Quality and Science Advisory boards under the 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. Members of revised Great Lakes boards are reflecting on the accomplishments of their predecessors and challenges that lie ahead. Read More »

EPA Green Infrastructure Grants Bolster Lake Erie Protection - Ontario Encourages Green Planning

IJC admin | 2014/03/31

Grants to Ohio and New York shoreline communities recently announced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are significant steps toward restoring Lake Erie water quality. The Commission commends EPA and the communities for undertaking these projects. It is exciting to see them making green infrastructure work for cities on Lake Erie. Read More »

Great Lakes Ballast Water Collaborative Discusses Successes, Challenges of Fighting Aquatic Invasives

IJC admin | 2014/03/28

A summary of the seventh meeting of the Great Lakes Ballast Water Collaborative in Washington, D.C. More than 40 key stakeholders met in person and many more joined via teleconference to discuss the status of current science, research and development, the current regulatory environment, industry perspectives, and the challenges of successfully implementing ballast water management regulations. Read More »

Canada-US Data Harmonization Provides New Tools – StreamStats in Development for Rainy River

IJC admin | 2014/04/08

The application of StreamStats for the Rainy River grew out of a data harmonization project that began in 2008 when the IJC created a Transboundary Data Harmonization Task Force. Read More »

Pause for Earth Day: Steps by IJC to Protect the Environment

IJC admin | 2014/04/14

Earth Day is celebrated on April 22. It’s a time to reflect on the needs of our planet, and steps the IJC takes to prevent and address environmental damage. Read More »

Find Out About the International Watersheds Initiative

IJC admin | 2014/04/16

The IWI International Watersheds Initiative (IWI) was created in 1998, after the Canadian and U.S. governments provided funding and direction for the effort. The IWI is about using a watershed-based approach to transboundary challenges like protecting water quality and managing levels and flows. A new brochure tells the story of the IWI. Read More »

Spring Semi-Annual to Update IJC on Board Activities

IJC admin | 2014/04/24

IJC commissioners will hear important updates from board members at their Spring Semi-Annual Meeting on April 30-May 1 in Washington, D.C. Read More »

In Memoriam: Former Canadian Chair of the International Joint Commission, the Rt. Hon. Herb Gray, P.C., Q.C.

IJC admin | 2014/04/22

The International Joint Commission mourns the loss and celebrates the spirit of the leadership, integrity, and enduring contributions of Rt. Hon. Herb Gray. Following a career in the House of Commons spanning four decades, the Rt. Hon. Herb Gray served the IJC as co-chair from January 2002-2010. Chairman Gray left a lasting legacy at the IJC and our shared waters are better off because of his service. Read More »

Opportunities and Lessons Learned in Delisting a Pennsylvania Area of Concern

IJC admin | 2014/05/05

While ultimately successful, the AOC process in Pennsylvania was full of challenges and lessons. The lessons learned apply to organizations responsible for Remedial Action Plans and AOC processes elsewhere as well as members of advisory or citizens committees. Read More »

IJC Receives Progress Reports from Boards, Publishes 2013 Activities Report

IJC admin | 2014/05/08

Progress reports from IJC boards that work on issues along the shared waters between our two countries have been posted for public viewing. The IJC has also published its 2013 Activities Report, which sums up work on major projects from last year, and looks ahead to initiatives planned for 2014 and beyond. Read More »

The Erie Canal is a Battleground Against Invasive Hydrilla

IJC admin | 2014/05/13

Hydrilla is an aggressive, opportunistic, aquatic nuisance plant species that has spread from its native Asia to every continent except Antarctica. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Buffalo District, in cooperation with the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), is serving as the lead agency for an eradication demonstration project for control of the invasive plant in the Erie Canal and Tonawanda Creek. Eradication is particularly important given the economic and ecological value of the waterway and risk of spread to multiple water bodies throughout New York and the Great Lakes. Read More »

It’s Official! Detroit River Fish are Tasty

IJC admin | 2014/05/16

Walleye, perch and other Detroit River fish taste good. And that’s official. Tainted fish flavor has been removed from a list of beneficial use impairments in the Detroit River Area of Concern. Read More »

A Balancing Act: Lake Superior Regulation and the St. Marys River

IJC admin | 2014/05/21

The International Lake Superior Board of Control recently increased the total outflow from Lake Superior through the St. Marys River. As is typical for this time of year, the outflow is expected to continue increasing over the summer months before beginning to decline in the fall. To allow for the increase in outflow, the flow through the gated dam at the head of the St. Marys Rapids, known as the Compensating Works, also was increased. Why is this necessary, and why now? Read More »

Success Stories from the Red River Basin

IJC admin | 2014/05/28

The Red River Basin Commission appreciates all levels of action implemented every day in the Red River basin. A Success Stories Initiative highlights stories that are not as well-publicized as larger high-profile projects. Read More »

Your Backyard is Bigger Than What You Can See

IJC admin | 2014/05/30

“Geography is linked to the environment,” says Connie Wyatt Anderson, a high school teacher in Manitoba. “In the Lake Winnipeg watershed, what you throw into the Bow River in Calgary eventually ends up in Hudson Bay.” Wyatt Anderson is chair of Canadian Geographic Education, which has big plans for making sure more people --- especially children in the two countries --- find out everything they can about the Lake Winnipeg watershed, from the area it drains to the people and wildlife that live there. Read More »

Taking the Pulse of the Great Lakes: New Information on Ecosystem Indicators

IJC admin | 2014/06/05

The Great Lakes ecosystem is complex --- human behavior, chemical pollutants, and native and invasive species are all interconnected. Measures are needed to take the pulse of the system, the same way a doctor takes the blood pressure of a patient. These measures are called indicators. Read More »

You’ve Taken the Test Drive, Now Take the Survey

IJC admin | 2014/06/10

We’d like to hear from you, the folks who use the IJC website and rely on it for information. Tell us what improvements you’d like to see, or any particular problems you’ve had. Read More »

How We Got Here: The Journey to Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Regulation

IJC admin | 2014/06/13

An upcoming water levels regulation plan for the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River will be announced on June 17 by IJC, and formally submitted to the federal governments of Canada and the U.S. In the meantime, we’d like to remind people about the careful thought, consideration and science that went into charting this course. Read More »

Reversing Harm and Balancing Interests Under Plan 2014

IJC admin | 2014/06/17

A new Plan 2014 for the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River system strikes a balance. It would update an existing regulation plan for the Moses-Saunders dam called 1958DD. The new Plan 2014 would produce a huge improvement in coastal ecosystems – helping restore some 64,000 acres of wetlands that foster aquatic life and filter polluted runoff – in return for a small reduction in benefits. Read More »

Responding to Rainy River-Lake of the Woods Conditions

IJC admin | 2014/07/02

The Rainy River basin has been living up to its name, with historic rain and flooding in recent months. Local officials, residents and groups including the IJC’s Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed Board have been monitoring the situation, helping get the word out about conditions and response efforts, and alerting residents on ways to protect their docks, homes and other property. I was able to visit the area recently, and was struck by the way people are working together to weather this storm. Read More »

IJC to schoolchildren: Stop Feeding the Algae Monster!

IJC admin | 2014/07/07

"Stop Feeding the Algae Monster!" --- a game created by the IJC`s Great Lakes Regional Office --- has been played at local water festivals throughout the Detroit/Windsor region. It’s part of educational outreach for our work on reducing algal blooms that in recent years have plagued Lake Erie and other Great Lakes waters. Read More »

Taking on ‘The Nine’ --- How Toxic Discharges to Lake Superior were Slashed and What it Might Mean for the Other Great Lakes

IJC admin | 2014/07/09

A novel pilot program has documented successful reductions to toxic chemical discharges and emissions– including huge cuts in mercury and dioxins – from sources surrounding Lake Superior. The results provide a template for similar toxic reduction programs in other Great Lakes. Read More »

Have You Seen an American Eel? Their Numbers are Dwindling

IJC admin | 2014/07/15

Slimy, snake-like and worth protecting. That’s the American eel. This fish, once abundant in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, is fighting the odds to survive. The St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Sciences is working with partners to help the eels endure. Read More »

Burrows Brings Knowledge, Skill and Eclectic Office Decor to Acting Director Position

IJC admin | 2014/07/28

The IJC’s Great Lakes Regional Office (GLRO) didn’t miss a beat when Mark Burrows took the helm as acting director in June. A 14-year IJC veteran with a wealth of maritime and water policy expertise, Burrows has slipped comfortably into his new role while we search for a director to fill a four-year term. Read More »

Reaching Out in Rainy-Lake of the Woods Basin

IJC admin | 2014/07/31

The IJC’s Rainy-Lake of the Woods board has new members, new advisory groups, and more frequent meetings with the public. We’re even on the radio. We’ve come long way since the days of once-a-year outreach. Read More »

On a Plan of Study to Improve Rainy-Lake of the Woods Water Quality

IJC admin | 2014/07/22

The second edition of the State of the Basin Report was recently published, with new science on research and monitoring done since the first edition in 2009. This report provides the necessary background to the just-released draft Plan of Study for the watershed --- to determine what additional studies are needed to improve water quality and the long-term ecosystem health of the area. Read More »

St. Croix Board to Host Fall Science Meeting

IJC admin | 2014/08/05

The State of the St. Croix will be explored at a science meeting planned for the fall of 2014. The event will bring together researchers, agency representatives, and members of the public who live, work and play within the St. Croix watershed. The aim is to discuss current research efforts, future research priorities, and create opportunities for future collaboration. Read More »

Mending the Meander with the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

IJC admin | 2014/08/13

A six-year effort has been completed—using funds from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and other sources—to re-connect 35 miles of the Two Hearted River. As a result, this waterway is now one of the longest free-flowing rivers in the Great Lakes. Read More »

Philanthropist Peter Wege Fostered Great Lakes Protection

IJC admin | 2014/08/14

The International Joint Commission notes with regret the passing of Peter M. Wege of East Grand Rapids, Michigan, a philanthropist whose support for Great Lakes protection made a lasting impact. Read More »

A Second Century of International Stewardship of the St. Mary and Milk Rivers

IJC admin | 2014/08/19

On the prairies, water is scarce and valuable. The Milk and the St. Mary are two separate rivers that both flow across the international boundary. The St. Mary River is shorter and begins in Glacier National Park in Montana, flowing through Alberta. The Milk River is much longer and more typical of a flashy prairie river system that torrents in the spring, then trickles, and even dries up, in the summer. Read More »

What's Next for the Great Lakes Study?

IJC admin | 2012/10/15

The people have spoken. Now it’s time to make a decision about the International Upper Great Lakes Study. If only it was that easy. Read More »

You’re invited to comment on latest Air Quality Agreement Progress Report

IJC admin | 2013/04/08

As of 2010, Canada's total emissions of sulphur dioxide have decreased by 57 percent from 1990 levels, according to the report. Meanwhile, the U.S. has reduced total sulphur dioxide emissions from covered sources by 67 percent from 1990 emission levels. Read More »

Basin Residents Comment on Lake of the Woods Water Quality Plan

IJC admin | 2014/08/21

The Water Quality Plan of Study Team for the Lake of the Woods Basin held eight public meetings from Aug. 11-15, racking up close to 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) of travel to hear the views of the people in the basin about its draft report. A 30-day public comment period on the draft Plan of Study ends Friday, Aug. 22. Read More »

Fins Up: Detroit River Reef Project to Benefit Endangered Lake Sturgeon

IJC admin | 2014/09/02

This year, Sea Grant and its partners plan to build three optimized spawning reefs in Michigan near Algonac, East China and Detroit. They’ll use various techniques to see if sturgeon are depositing eggs on the reef, and if the eggs produce healthy young. They’ll also monitor populations of adult and juvenile fish on and near the reefs. The reefs also can support walleye, lake whitefish and other native species. Read More »

The 4R Approach: One Tool to Control Harmful Fertilizer Runoff to Algae-Choked Lake Erie

IJC admin | 2014/09/04

“4 R” programs in Canada and the United States are aimed at using agricultural fertilizers efficiently, based on best management practices. In other words, with the Right source, and at the Right rate, Right time, and Right place. The 4Rs encourage farmers to better manage their use of phosphorus, and following these practices may make a notable difference in curbing runoff that feeds Lake Erie algae problems. Read More »

Sand Castles, Boat Rides and Asian Carp? Smart Planning and Rapid Response Take Aim at Aquatic Invaders

IJC admin | 2014/09/17

Sand castles, boat rides and beachcombing are part of the Great Lakes experience. Devastation of the aquatic food web by strange organisms, or getting smacked in the head by a leaping Asian carp, is not. Those threats are among the reasons a biological SWAT team of Great Lakes experts is preparing a quick-strike response to launch should the invaders ever reach the lakes and connecting waters like the Detroit River. Read More »

Restoring Quality Habitat and Combating Invasive Plants at Times Beach

IJC admin | 2014/09/30

A unique project to fight invasive plants and restore native species at a popular birding destination in Buffalo, N.Y., will help inform similar projects at sites across the Great Lakes and the nation. The Buffalo District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center are collaborating on a demonstration project to control the growth of four invasive plants at Times Beach Nature Preserve in Buffalo. Read More »

Great Lakes Boards Hear from Experts, Songwriter Sarah Harmer

IJC admin | 2014/10/08

A poetic ode to the freshwater seas from singer-songwriter Sarah Harmer was followed by a lively panel discussion on Great Lakes protection during a public forum on Sept. 24 in Windsor, Ontario, sponsored by the IJC’s Great Lakes Water Quality Board. Read More »

Fall Semi-Annual Planned for Ottawa

IJC admin | 2014/10/08

The IJC’s Canadian Section headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario, is the site for our upcoming Fall Semi-Annual Meeting. It’s a special opportunity for commissioners to meet face-to-face with various boards and hear progress reports. Read More »

Adopt-a-Beach Volunteers: Passionate Agents of Change

IJC admin | 2014/10/06

Firefighters. Nuns. Seniors. Businesses. Moms. Dads. School kids. They hit local beaches and shorelines by the thousands each year for the September Adopt-a-Beach cleanup held around in the U.S. Great Lakes states. Read More »

The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup Takes Trash, Leaves Footprints

IJC admin | 2014/10/16

You’ve seen the signs: Put litter in its place. That means a trash can or recycle bin, not the water. But beaches in Canada, like those in the U.S., still suffer from unwanted debris that washes up on the shores of our Great Lakes and its connecting waters. Read More »

They Come in Waves: Seiches and a Type of Tsunami Affect the Great Lakes

IJC admin | 2014/10/23

Great Lakes water levels usually fluctuate over time, as in months and years. But a couple of communities along Lake Superior and Michigan recently saw drastic changes in a matter of hours. Read More »

Pair of Great Lakes sites to come off ‘The List’

IJC admin | 2014/09/05

When someone says “You’re on my list!” it’s usually not good. And so it is – in some ways - with the Areas of Concern (AOC) list – an inventory of the Great Lakes’ most toxic sites, many of them chock full of legacy industrial pollutants like PCBs and mercury, or suffering from a loss of fish and wildlife habitat. Read More »

How Zebra Mussels Were Removed from Lake Winnipeg - Almost

IJC admin | 2014/10/28

This story starts with a single zebra mussel found on a boat moored at a Lake Winnipeg harbor in Manitoba. It ends with boat washing stations, billboards and lessons for other watersheds on dealing with the threat of invasive species. Read More »

The Coastal Wetlands of Western Lake Erie: Have We Lost our Swiss Army Knife?

IJC admin | 2014/10/28

What does a 95 percent loss look like? Imagine losing 95 percent of your retirement portfolio. That would take another career to rebuild. What if we lost 95 percent of the water in the Great Lakes? Every lake except Ontario would be bone dry. The scenario seems pretty drastic, but it’s exactly where we are with the status of our wetlands in western Lake Erie --- from Point Pelee, Ontario, through Michigan and around to Sandusky, Ohio. Read More »

LEEP Forums a Chance to Hear from Experts, Tell Your Story on Lake Erie Algae

IJC admin | 2014/11/07

To continue to focus attention on the issue, we’re holding two Harmful Algal Blooms Public Forums to provide an update on the latest science, and another opportunity for people to offer their views on the effects of declining water quality in the lake. The forums are Nov. 12 at the Leamington Municipal Complex in Leamington, Ontario, and Nov. 13 at the Maumee Bay Lodge and Conference Center in Oregon, Ohio, near Toledo. Read More »

Braddock Bay: A Focus for Great Lakes Restoration

IJC admin | 2014/11/20

Braddock Bay, located along the shores of Lake Ontario in the town of Greece, N.Y., has gradually lost its protective barrier beach and about 106 acres of wetlands over the last 100 years due to wave-driven erosion. Further, Lake Ontario water level regulations enacted in 1954 have decreased fluctuations in the water level, resulting in the predominance of cattail in an area that was once a diverse habitat at the site. With the goal of restoring and improving habitat diversity of the existing emergent marsh and reducing erosion, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Buffalo District, in coordination with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC), and the town of Greece have completed a feasibility study identifying a plan for ecosystem restoration at Braddock Bay. Read More »

Find a Solution to Algal Blooms, Win $10 Million

IJC admin | 2014/11/21

Because harmful algal blooms can be so damaging economically, the Everglades Foundation in Florida has issued a Grand Challenge: “a $10 million prize … to anyone who can successfully develop and execute a process to remove excessive phosphorus from our waterways, and develop a method to recycle that phosphorus into much needed phosphate for use in growing the world’s food supply.” Read More »

New Videos on Lake Erie, Algae, and IJC Recommendations

IJC admin | 2014/11/25

Thanks to those who were able to attend and participate in our Harmful Algal Blooms Public Forums on Nov. 12 in Leamington, Ontario, and Nov. 13 in Oregon, Ohio. Two videos below were compiled after the meetings, and offer a look at what was discussed by panelists and participants. Read More »

Reminder: Comment on the Lake of the Woods Water Quality Plan of Study

IJC admin | 2014/12/02

The International Lake of the Woods Water Quality Plan of Study aims to improve conditions in the basin. But first, it needs one last look from the public. The Plan of Study was released recently for a 30-day comment period, and the IJC is asking people to review it and submit any input by Dec. 11. Read More »

Several Long-Time Board Members Bid Farewell

IJC admin | 2014/12/04

The numerous boards that report to the IJC are our feet on the ground in watersheds along the Canadian-U.S. boundary. The IJC would like to recognize several board members who passing on their duties and retiring this year, leaving a legacy of volunteer service and expertise. Read More »

Algae Removal System Helps Clean Up Ontario Beach

IJC admin | 2014/12/16

The shoreline of Ontario Beach in Rochester, N.Y., has an ongoing problem with algae accumulations of cladophora, a type of light-dependent, green nuisance algae which grows on the hard bottom surface of the lake and is carried to the shoreline by currents. Read More »

New Blueprint for Great Lakes Observing System Focuses on Data, Climate and More

IJC admin | 2014/12/16

A new Blueprint for the Great Lakes Observing System (GLOS) will guide its activities for the next five years. The Blueprint, for 2016-2020, outlines function areas including data management, outreach, observations, modeling and tools, and focus areas including public health and safety, ecosystem health, maritime operations and climate adaptation. Read More »

Mark Your Calendar: Coming Up in 2015

IJC admin | 2014/12/24

The IJC, its boards and partner organizations are planning several meetings for 2015. See below for any that may be in your watershed or pique your interest. Read More »

IJC’s Greatest Hits of 2014

IJC admin | 2014/12/31

We’re counting down our most-visited pages, news releases and newsletter posts as 2014 comes to an end --- and throwing in a few popular social media posts. Here’s the list, in reverse order of hits, based on Google Analytics and statistics from Facebook and Twitter. You can follow the links to read more. Have a Happy New Year. Read More »

Trish Morris Merges Two Passions as New Director of Great Lakes Office

IJC admin | 2015/01/08

The Great Lakes, and longstanding peace between the nations that share them, are inextricably linked, says Patricia A. “Trish” Morris. And she is thrilled to be working at the center of that connection as new director of the IJC’s Great Lakes Regional Office (GLRO). Morris sees her new role as a perfect merger of two of her life’s ambitions: restoring badly damaged water resources, and securing peace in some of the most volatile regions of the world. Read More »

Test Your Great Lakes Knowledge, and Win a ‘Valuable Prize’

IJC admin | 2015/01/13

To spread the word about the Great Lakes’ importance, we’re challenging all comers to an online Trivia Challenge. We’re planning more challenges for later this year about other basins we cover, from west to east. The first installment is below. And, yes, there is a valuable prize involved! Read More »

Answering Questions about Flame Retardants in the Great Lakes

IJC admin | 2015/01/28

To protect the health of the Great Lakes, governments ban the use of certain chemicals in products or come to agreements with manufacturers to phase out their use. The IJC’s Water Quality Board is exploring new problems that can arise when this happens. Read More »

Roaring Against Marine Debris in Vancouver

IJC admin | 2015/02/17

Marine debris is bad enough when it washes up on our shorelines. Imagine what it’s like for animals who call the water their home, like sea lions. Read More »

New Committee Will Use Adaptive Management to Monitor Water Levels

IJC admin | 2015/02/24

Can the IJC’s efforts to regulate water levels and flows be improved as new science and understanding is developed? A new Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Adaptive Management (GLAM) Committee will carry out the monitoring, modeling and assessment needed to answer this question, as conditions in the basin change over time. Read More »

Should We Celebrate U.S. Invasive Species Week?

IJC admin | 2015/02/26

Invasive species can out-compete native species and turn ecosystems upside down. Remember the zebra mussel, and its cousin, the quagga mussel? But it’s been a long time since a new invader was discovered in the Great Lakes. Read More »

Test Your Knowledge: A Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed Quiz

IJC admin | 2015/03/03

The Rainy-Lake of the Woods watershed occupies portions of the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Manitoba and the U.S. state of Minnesota. Take the quiz, and see how much you know. Read More »

Lake Erie, Saginaw Bay to See Significant Conservation Projects

IJC admin | 2015/03/10

A new Regional Conservation Partnership Program authorized in the 2014 U.S. Farm Bill directs $370 million to states and critical conservation areas, including the Great Lakes region. Critical conservation areas are designated by the Secretary of Agriculture and represent an opportunity for many stakeholders to come together at a regional level to address common natural resource goals while maintaining or improving agricultural productivity. Read More »

World Water Day 2015 Focuses on Sustainable Development

IJC admin | 2015/03/17

The IJC will observe World Water Day with an informational display at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. This full-day event is expected to bring together researchers, educators, students and stakeholders involved in water issues in and around Ontario, and also celebrate our freshwater resources. Read More »

On Wasted Water in Canada and the U.S.

IJC admin | 2015/03/18

The Fix a Leak campaign, led by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is meant to encourage folks to find and fix dripping faucets and valves that are wasting water (and money) in their homes. Canada Water Week - organized by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and others – is meant to raise the profile of water and its importance to Canada’s future. Wasted water is an ongoing, year-round issue. Read More »

New Canadian-Ontario Agreement Addresses Five Great Lakes Priorities

IJC admin | 2015/03/24

The Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Health is the means by which Canada and Ontario interact to help meet federal obligations under the Canada-U.S. Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. An eighth Canada-Ontario Agreement (COA), signed in December, sets the agenda for restoration, protection and conservation of the Canadian portion of the Great Lakes basin for the next five years. Read More »

Lake Erie Working Group Prepares Algae Action Plan for States, Province

IJC admin | 2015/03/26

A new international committee of the Great Lakes Commission is digging for solutions to the problem of harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie. Read More »

Lake of the Woods Forum Focuses on Water Quality Research, Lake Level Management

IJC admin | 2015/03/31

It’s been a dozen years since the first International Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed Forum, and the event shows no signs of slowing down. This year’s 12th annual Forum in International Falls, Minnesota, brought together a record number of attendees. Read More »

Waste-to-Energy Project Nets Award for IJC Intern’s Research Team

IJC admin | 2015/04/13

IJC Intern Jessica MacKinnon was among a group of environmental engineering undergraduates who scored an improbable victory over graduate students and Ph.D. candidates in a prestigious water quality research contest in Burlington, Ontario. Read More »

Spring Break on the Great Lakes is No Vacation for Canadian, US Coast Guards

IJC admin | 2015/04/01

The Great Lakes have seen historic winters during the last two years, with prolonged arctic-like weather. While above-average snowfall and ice-coverage amounts are generally good for lake levels, unremitting cold and winds have produced ice conditions not present on the Lakes since the mid-1990s. Read More »

Why Social Science Research is Critical to the Great Lakes Region

IJC admin | 2015/04/14

For the past two years, researchers and graduate students from the Great Lakes Policy Research Network, established under a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Partnership Development Grant, have been conducting collaborative research. Read More »

Remembering Claude Lanthier

IJC admin | 2015/04/21

Claude Lanthier served as the Canadian Section chair of the Commission from 1992-1995. He’s being remembered as a tireless advocate for the St. Lawrence River. Read More »

IJC to Attend One of World’s Biggest Earth Day Events

IJC admin | 2015/04/22

The International Joint Commission will help mark the 45th anniversary of Earth Day by taking part in festivities at the MI Earth Day Fest in Rochester, Michigan. Read More »

Test Your Memory with the 2014 IJC Activities Report Quiz

IJC admin | 2015/04/23

What do you remember about initiatives, programs and progress made during the last calendar year? We’ve chosen 10 questions to test your knowledge, and memory. Read More »

River Watch: 20 Years of Citizen Science

IJC admin | 2015/05/04

What’s your river or watershed story? That was the task for teams of high school students to portray and share via poster presentations at the International Water Institute’s (IWI) River Watch Forum held at the University of Minnesota-Crookston campus. Read More »

Canadian Ship Operator Leads on Ballast Water Treatment

IJC admin | 2015/05/07

Fednav, the largest Canadian operator of international ships in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System, is the first shipping company in Canada and the Great Lakes to announce the installation of ballast water treatment systems. Read More »

Hear from ‘Unexpected Voices of the Great Lakes’ at Water Quality Board Event

IJC admin | 2015/05/07

Unique viewpoints and more will take the stage Wednesday evening, May 13, at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, N.Y., during “Unexpected Voices of the Great Lakes,” a presentation and panel discussion cosponsored by the IJC’s Great Lakes Water Quality Board and Buffalo-Niagara Riverkeeper. Read More »

Updates on Progress from Coast-to-Coast Highlight IJC Spring 2015 Semi-Annual Meeting

IJC admin | 2015/05/12

Our boards and task forces are busy, and our annual Activities Report has hit the streets. Read More »

Signs of Spring Pour in from Canada and the U.S.

IJC admin | 2015/05/12

When spring officially began in March, we asked for photos from the transboundary region, to help illustrate the end of a long and icy winter. Well, Old Man Winter stuck around for a bit longer than expected, but Mother Nature eventually cooperated. So did numerous folks who read our blog and newsletter to follow IJC activities. Read More »

Canadian Commissioners meet with new Minister of Foreign Affairs

IJC admin | 2015/05/20

The Hon. Rob Nicholson may be relatively new to the role of Minister of Foreign Affairs, but hailing from Niagara Falls, as a six-term Member of Parliament he certainly is familiar with the IJC’s role under the Boundary Waters Treaty managing water levels on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River, as well in water quality under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. Read More »

Celebrating 60 Years of Successful Sea Lamprey Control, Science, and Cross-Border Collaboration

IJC admin | 2015/05/29

In 2015, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC) is excited to celebrate two momentous occasions in Great Lakes fishery management and restoration: the 60th anniversary of the Convention on Great Lakes Fisheries between Canada and the U.S., which finally ended parochialism in fisheries; and the 50th anniversary of the GLFC's lake committees, which ensure collaboration across borders. Read More »

‘Protection of the Waters’ Needs Your Voice

IJC admin | 2015/06/02

For years, a report on “Protection of the Waters of the Great Lakes” issued by IJC in 2000 has been one of the most popular items at Until June 30, we’re asking people to revisit that topic, as part of a consultants’ 10-year review of progress that Great Lakes states and provinces have made in defending the lakes from diversions, bulk exports and large-scale withdrawals within the basin. Read More »

Bringing Conservation to Cities

IJC admin | 2015/06/08

Putting Detroit and Windsor --- the automobile capitals of the United States and Canada --- in the same sentence as conservation may seem a paradox, but it really isn’t. Read More »

For Water’s Sake: Harmonizing Alaska and the Yukon Territory

IJC admin | 2015/06/11

An IJC hydrographic data harmonization team has been working to integrate and improve hydrographic data in the U.S.-Canada international basins. For too long, both countries have been unable to easily use each other’s hydro data geospatially. In simple terms, “geospatially” means putting all the hydrologic information together on the same map from both sides of the border. Read More »

Visit the Soo Locks – and Lake Superior Board – during Engineer’s Day

IJC admin | 2015/06/22

On Friday, June 26, the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, will be open to the public for the annual Soo Locks Engineer’s Day. At this event, visitors will have an opportunity to walk across the lock walls and get an up-close look at ships as they transit the system. A variety of other activities will take place as well, including a tour of the Cloverland Electric Cooperative Hydroelectric Plant; an Arts, Crafts, and Family Fun Fair; and tug boat races. Read More »

Clearing Blight and Cleaning Up Water in Buffalo

IJC admin | 2015/06/24

What do vacant and abandoned properties in Buffalo, N.Y., have to do with Great Lakes water quality? Quite a bit, it may turn out, once the Buffalo Sewer Authority (BSA) implements a new low-cost approach to transforming more than 230 vacant city-owned sites into green spaces that will help reduce blight while capturing rain and snow melt. Read More »

Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper: 25 Years of Collaborating to Restore and Protect a Healthy Niagara River Watershed

IJC admin | 2015/06/23

Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper is helping guide the transformation of a region in the state of New York from a historical rust belt to one that values and maintains the integrity of its freshwater systems as a major component of regional economic revitalization. Read More »

Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Water Levels: Wetter Conditions Return, Winter’s Impact Persists

IJC admin | 2015/06/18

Despite a return to more seasonable conditions in April and May, water levels throughout much of the Lake Ontario- St. Lawrence River system remained well below average through most of the spring following an exceptionally cold and dry winter. While water levels have more recently recovered following wet weather at the start of June, the lower than average levels, though not particularly unusual, have been cause for concern among many basin residents, particularly recreational boaters. Here, we provide background on circumstances leading to recent water level conditions, and information on what we might expect in coming months. Read More »

Activities Report Highlights Canada-U.S. Cooperation

IJC admin | 2015/06/29

Our recent Spring Semi-Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., was about looking ahead to 2015 and beyond, and looking back at accomplishments and challenges from 2014. Read More »

The Lake Erie Algae Puzzle is Coming Together

IJC admin | 2015/07/07

This is a problem that will take time to solve. But the solution is coming together in various forms. Exactly how we get there has yet to be decided, but that’s the next challenge coming down the river … or the lake. Read More »

Severe and Urgent: Keeping Lake Erie Algae in the Crosshairs

IJC admin | 2015/07/13

You may have heard the latest forecast for harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie. Scientists are using the word “severe” to describe the threat this summer to the shallowest of the Great Lakes. Here’s another word that fits: urgent. Read More »

The IJC Canoe Commute Challenge

IJC admin | 2015/07/28

In an effort to promote water education in Canada and active and sustainable commuting, four staff members from the Ottawa office of the International Joint Commission (IJC) have accepted the challenge (inspired by the IJC Canadian Section Chair, Gordon Walker) to commute to work by canoe from August 4th to August 7th. Read More »

Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed – A Busy Place in August

IJC admin | 2015/07/31

The Rainy-Lake of the Woods watershed will be a busy place this August as the International Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed Board hosts its annual public meetings and takes part in the first binational lake association network event for the shared watershed. Read More »

AOC Stands for Areas of Concern, and Great Lakes Progress

IJC admin | 2015/08/13

You can learn more about AOCs and their environmental impairments, the clean-up process, the status of cleanup progress, and other AOC-related resources on a new IJC page on Great Lakes Areas of Concern. Read More »

Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area Protects World’s Largest Freshwater Lake

IJC admin | 2015/08/19

Once formally established, the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area will be one of the world’s largest freshwater marine protected areas. Read More »

Alewives Swimming, Restoration Winning on St. Croix River

IJC admin | 2015/08/27

One fish told another fish, and now alewives are returning to the St. Croix River. This year, more than 93,000 of the fish were counted entering the river at Milltown Dam in New Brunswick. That’s the most since 1998, when about 177,000 were counted. But populations of alewives still have a long way to go on the river. And this year’s high numbers aren’t a simple result of the river being reopened. Read More »

New Vessel Joins the Great Lakes Science Fleet, More on the Way

IJC admin | 2015/02/24

Meet the Arcticus, a new 77.5-foot Great Lakes research vessel operated by the Great Lakes Science Center, an arm of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The Arcticus replaces the 75-foot Grayling at its homeport in Cheboygan, Michigan, and will be used to explore Great Lakes ecosystems. The Read More »

IJC Canoe Commute: Challenge Completed

IJC admin | 2015/09/01

An IJC canoe commute team paddled, portaged and prevailed. In early August, the team of four staffers successfully completed a challenge of canoeing on the water and carrying their canoes over land to work at the IJC’s Canadian Section Office in Ottawa, Ontario. They did it for a week, clad in office attire, to help promote water education in Canada and sustainable commuting. Read More »

Western Drought and Salmon Top Agenda for 2015 Osoyoos Lake Water Science Forum

IJC admin | 2015/09/16

Water can be a great glue – joining people together to help keep it clean and plentiful. The matter comes down to building relationships and understanding, so that when the going gets tough – as with this year’s western drought – we can pull together. Read More »

Board, Associations Focus on Rainy-Lake of the Woods

IJC admin | 2015/09/24

The International Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed Board (IRLWWB) had a productive summer, holding three public meetings in the watershed and participating in a new Binational Lake Association Network Event. The results will help guide environmental efforts in the basin for years to come. Read More »

Using Social Media to Monitor Water Quality and Public Health

IJC admin | 2015/10/02

In most cases, people are smart enough to stay away from polluted water. They may be itching, however, to tell other people about it. Dr. Matthew Keifer, a member of the IJC’s Health Professionals Advisory Board (HPAB), says social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are some of the first places people turn when they want to share and find information on public health topics. “The best way to take the temperature of society in those areas is to look at what people are talking about,” Keifer said. Read More »

Great Lakes Needs Guardians (Funding Available)

IJC admin | 2015/10/07

For the fourth year, the Ontario government is offering $1.5 million in grants to community groups through the Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund. The program aims to create guardians of the Great Lakes --- people who will be engaged throughout their lifetime and in generations to come. Read More »

Reflections on Renewing Greatness for Great Lakes Restoration and Protection

IJC admin | 2015/10/16

The work of Great Lakes protection and restoration is influenced by the confluence of people and businesses that call this region home and recognize the unparalleled gift of the glaciers to our pursuit of happiness. Collectively we agree on the importance of protecting the Lakes. Important progress has been achieved. And much is left to do to deliver the promise of sustaining the integrity of the waters of the Great Lakes. Read More »

People Love the Great Lakes Because …

IJC admin | 2015/10/23

The results are still coming in, but Jamie Cross, Adopt-a-Beach Program manager for the Alliance for the Great Lakes, says the cleanup is on track to be as successful as last year’s. That event saw some 7,343 volunteers pick up 25,251 pounds of trash from 277 shoreline locations in five Great Lakes states. Read More »

Great Lakes Stories: New Bureau of Detroit Public TV Expands Coverage

IJC admin | 2015/11/02

The Great Lakes are filled with great stories, and Detroit Public Television – through its new Great Lakes Bureau – is anxious to begin telling them. Read More »

How Green Infrastructure is ‘Saving the Rain’ in New York

IJC admin | 2013/03/22

Cities and organizations in New York are showing off stormwater strategies --- to slow down, spread out, and soak in precipitation and runoff. It’s an alternative to letting water flow unfiltered off of roofs and other hard surfaces and into streams, rivers, and ultimately the Great Lakes. Read More »

Lessons Learned in the Credit River: Reconnecting the Water Cycle for our Greater Lakes

IJC admin | 2015/11/10

Real-time monitoring of the Credit River has found that urban stormwater is contributing two times more phosphorus to the nearshore than the two wastewater treatment plants within Credit Valley Conservation’s jurisdiction. This highlights the need to integrate water, wastewater and stormwater management decisions to optimize infrastructure investment. Read More »

Drought of 2015 Provides Lessons for Future Water Management - Part 1 of 2

IJC admin | 2015/11/30

Sue McKortoff is upfront about how she’s conserving water. The mayor of Osoyoos has embarrassed her kids by declaring publicly she doesn’t take showers every day. And when she does, she bathes for only three minutes. Read More »

Drought of 2015 Provides Lessons for Future Water Management - Part 2 of 2

IJC admin | 2015/11/30

The year 2015 created some unusual water management challenges for the International Osoyoos Lake Board of Control, which sets maximum and minimum water level limits in the transboundary lake in accordance with the IJC’s Order of Approval for Zosel Dam. Read More »

Dramatic Algal Blooms in Lake of the Woods Call for Dramatic Action

IJC admin | 2015/12/01

The view from space tells a dramatic story – Lake of the Woods was plagued with exceptionally bad outbreaks of blue-green algae again this summer and fall, underlining the need for governments to fund and move forward with the Lake of the Woods Basin Water Quality Plan of Study through the International Joint Commission. Read More »

Reducing Great Lakes Mercury Contamination: Regional Efforts May Not Be Enough

IJC admin | 2015/12/08

The term “toxic pollution” may bring to mind images of a local drainage pipe dumping discolored wastewater and chemicals into an otherwise picturesque river or stream. However, scientists for some time have understood that toxic pollution also can be airborne, and released on distant continents before traveling thousands of miles and kilometers through the atmosphere and landing in the Great Lakes basin. Read More »

Plan of Study Yields Innovative Forecasting Products for Lake Champlain-Richelieu River Basin

IJC admin | 2015/12/22

The Lake Champlain-Richelieu River basin straddles the United States and Canada between Vermont, New York and Quebec. There have been numerous floods in the basin, but work is ongoing to develop an operational real-time flood forecasting and flood inundation mapping system. Read More »

IJC’s Greatest Hits of 2015

IJC admin | 2016/01/08 received more than a quarter million hits last year. Some pages that were visited the most are highlighted here, along with a few notable shares from our social media channels. Which ones did you read? Which ones did you miss? Let’s drop the ball … Read More »

Keeping the Plug in the Great Lakes Tub

IJC admin | 2016/01/19

The IJC has just completed its second review of progress. Formally submitted to governments in January 2016, the report describes efforts to protect the Great Lakes from consumptive uses, diversions and exports and calls the findings “for the most part a good news story.” Read More »

Wetland Monitoring on the Horizon for Great Lakes Adaptive Management

IJC admin | 2016/03/17

Adaptive management is nothing new. Canada and the United States have asked the IJC to evaluate fluctuations in levels and flows in the Great Lakes periodically over the last half century. Read More »

Canada, US Set Lake Erie Algae Reduction Targets: What Happens Next?

IJC admin | 2016/03/15

Canadian and U.S. government agencies, and the IJC, are on the same page when it comes to phosphorus reduction targets needed to restore Lake Erie. Read More »

Don’t Read the 2015 Annual Activities Report (Until You Take This Quiz)

IJC admin | 2016/03/11

Some people can’t remember what they had for lunch yesterday. How well do you remember what the IJC was up to in 2015? Have no fear, we wrote it down. We’ve released our 2015 Annual Activities Report, summing up events and projects from last year. You may have forgotten some things, and be surprised to learn about others. Read More »

Ready for Spring: US-Flag Fleets Invest $110 million Over Winter

IJC admin | 2016/03/22

U.S.-flag vessel operators on the Great Lakes have committed more than $110 million to maintain and modernize their vessels in 2016. The investment includes about $60 million for typical winter lay-up maintenance and repair work plus another $50 million in projects that involve repowering vessels or installing exhaust scrubbers. Read More »

All Eyes on Rainy-Lake of the Woods: Water Quality, Rule Curves Highlight 2016 Forum

IJC admin | 2016/03/07

More than 140 researchers and resource managers are expected to pack the 13th annual International Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed Forum in International Falls, Minnesota. This year’s Forum will focus on priority issues of the IJC’s Lake of the Woods Basin Water Quality Plan of Study as well as the review of water level regulation for Rainy and Namakan lakes by the International Rainy and Namakan Lakes Rule Curves Study Board, which is inviting comments on its Study Strategy until March 21. Read More »

Microbeads - Legislative Update

IJC admin | 2016/03/01

In a time of often overwhelming environmental challenges, the fight against microplastics pollution in the Great Lakes appears to be auspicious. The rapid turnaround between the first research on microplastics pollution in the Great Lakes in 2012 and recent state, provincial and federal bans on the manufacture and sale of products containing microbeads has been impressive. Read More »

Consumer Decisions Can Curb Microbead Pollution

IJC admin | 2016/02/25

Concerned citizens can help decrease the amount of microplastics entering the Great Lakes. It starts with paying attention to microbeads in personal care products. Read More »

History and Evolution of the Microbead

IJC admin | 2016/02/22

Considering the ubiquity of plastic in today’s society, it’s difficult to realize how recently the mass production of plastics began. The initial commercial development of thermoplastics such as polyvinyl chloride, low-density polyethylene, polystyrene and polymethyl methacrylate began with the advent of World War II in 1939. Natural rubber was in short supply and extensive research was completed to develop synthetic alternatives. Large-scale production of polyethylenes in the late 1970s reduced their costs dramatically, and new applications were discovered – from cars to personal care products. Read More »

Tiny Plastics Inflict Huge Environmental and Human Health Impact

IJC admin | 2016/02/16

Microbeads are one way to clean your face, body and teeth and pollute the Great Lakes at the same time. Thankfully, there are alternatives. Read More »

Looking ahead at 2016

IJC admin | 2016/02/04

Much activity is on the horizon for 2016 along U.S.-Canadian shared waters. Here are highlights of what’s in store. Read More »

Can Expert Surveys Help Assess Great Lakes Water Quality? Comments Requested

IJC admin | 2016/02/03

Under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, the Commission is charged with reporting on the extent to which government programs are improving Great Lakes water quality. A Commission consultant recently tested one potential tool for assessing the impact of government programs on Great Lakes water quality. In 2015, a team of researchers from the Great Lakes Policy Research Network, in partnership with the IJC, surveyed experts to solicit their views. One purpose was to discern whether such a survey could contribute to the Commission’s upcoming Assessment of Progress Report. Until March 4, the IJC is seeking comments on the report and the potential application of its findings. Read More »

Minnesota, North Dakota, Manitoba Coordinating Red River Nutrient Management Strategies

IJC admin | 2016/01/29

Excessive nutrients flow to the Red River from tributaries in North Dakota, Minnesota and Manitoba. So it seems reasonable that reductions should come from all three jurisdictions. In the spirit of cooperation, Minnesota has developed a nutrient reduction strategy, and North Dakota and Manitoba are developing their own plans. Read More »

Draft Strategy is First Milestone of Rainy-Namakan Rule Curve Review

IJC admin | 2016/03/18

How do you evaluate a rule curve? What exactly is a rule curve, anyway? You can read on for more about the latest work of the Rainy and Namakan Lakes Rule Curves Study Board. Public comments are being taken until March 21 on a draft strategy from the Board that may affect water levels in the basin for years to come. Read More »

Why Poll People about the Great Lakes – Who Doesn’t Love the Great Lakes?

IJC admin | 2016/04/14

Of course, it’s no secret that people love the Great Lakes. But finding out the particulars, like what issues people want to know more about, why they treasure the lakes and who’s responsible for their protection, is essential. The IJC’s Great Lakes Water Quality Board recently completed one of the largest-ever opinion polls about the Great Lakes. Read More »

All About the Lake Erie-Niagara River Ice Boom

IJC admin | 2016/04/20

Thanks to the annual installation of an ice boom for the winter, large masses of ice are kept from flowing down the Niagara River, protecting property, the shoreline, and preventing water intakes from jamming at hydroelectric plants. Read More »

Microplastics Motivate Cleanups – Find Out More at April 26 Workshop

IJC admin | 2016/04/21

When you think of microplastics, you might think of the microbeads in facial scrubs or toothpaste, but these are actually just one type of microplastics. Another major source is the breaking down of larger pieces of plastic, such as litter, into smaller and smaller pieces. The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup and other groups will break down this topic further at a public microplastics workshop at 7 p.m., April 26, at the University of Windsor’s Katzman Lounge in Vanier Hall. IJC commissioners, expert panelists and local activists will be on hand to explain how microplastics are created and how they are impacting the Great Lakes and other local water bodies. Read More »

Tap Water Testing for World Water Day

IJC admin | 2016/05/17

Can you tell the difference between city water and bottled water? A World Water Day event, where participants were challenged to identify and distinguish between Ottawa tap water and four different bottled waters, allowed people to determine if they could tell the difference. Read More »

New International Watershed Initiative Projects Studying Water Quality, Usage and Pollutants

IJC admin | 2016/07/05

Recent studies performed under the IJC’s International Watersheds Initiative (IWI) should provide policymakers and researchers with more information to help make decisions related to fishing, water quality and water withdrawal. A number of projects around the Great Lakes and the St. Mary and Milk Rivers are in the works, focusing on topics from river conditions and algal bloom-causing pollutants to computer model creation. Read More »

Geocaching Project Connects Canadians to Nature

IJC admin | 2016/08/11

Between now and the spring of 2018, Cornwall, Ontario’s St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Sciences will be working in National Wildlife Areas across Canada to link the outdoor recreational pursuit of geocaching with environmental education as a means of connecting Canadians with the natural world. Read More »

Family Ties: Craig Palmer and the Ditch that Inspired a Treaty

IJC admin | 2016/08/16

Adelbert Cazier never set out to start a water conflict between Canada and the United States, particularly not one that prompted the Boundary Waters Treaty and inspired the creation of the IJC. Craig Palmer, Cazier’s great-grandson, recently talked about his family’s role in a border water conflict that led to the creation of the IJC. Palmer was attending the 2016 International Association for Great Lakes Research (IAGLR) conference in Ontario. Read More »

New Vermont Lake Champlain Phosphorus TMDLs Completed

IJC admin | 2016/08/16

A Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL, is a pollution budget. In the case of Lake Champlain, the budget refers to a maximum amount of phosphorus, and establishes pollutant reduction targets needed to meet lake water quality goals. Too much phosphorus in many parts of Lake Champlain has been causing algae blooms and related problems for decades. Read More »

Study Board Discusses Rule Curve Studies with Residents on Rainy and Namakan Lakes

IJC admin | 2016/08/16

The IJC has been directing dam operations to control water levels in Namakan and Rainy Lake since 1949, and one thing has become clear over the years: It’s difficult to come up with water level targets that are optimal for everybody. Adjustments to those targets bring up a variety of questions: How are fish like northern pike and walleye doing? How is wild rice production? What about the resort industry? Read More »

Get involved in Rainy-Lake of the Woods: Public Meetings Upcoming and Nominations Now Open

IJC admin | 2013/08/15

These are the first public meetings of the new Board, which combines the IJC’s former International Rainy River Water Pollution Board and the International Rainy Lake Board of Control. Read More »

Osoyoos Lake: The Movie

IJC admin | 2016/08/16

Numerous movies have been shot around Osoyoos Lake. Its desert landscape is used as a stand-in for Westerns set in the U.S. Southwest. Yet the lake has never had a starring role, until now. Read More »

Fish Passageways Key to Solving Nutrient Issues in St. Croix Waterways

IJC admin | 2016/08/16

Improving aquatic connections along the St. Croix River for fish to migrate would be a boon to those populations and the ecosystem at large. That’s according to Dr. Joseph Zydlewski, assistant unit leader of fisheries with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Maine Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at the University of Maine in Orono. Zydlewski said he wants to see the St. Croix restored as much as possible to its natural, pre-dammed state. East coast freshwater systems are typically considered “nutrient poor” on their own, he said, so fish migrating in from the sea – such as alewives, shad, salmon and sea lamprey – provide an influx of nutrients as they die and are eaten. To help those inland water systems means understanding how migrating species work together with resident species. Read More »

Managing for Climate Change and Drought in Global Watersheds

IJC admin | 2016/08/29

Many countries are struggling to balance human and environmental needs with growing water shortages. Climate change is compounding this challenge and driving changes in water management legislation and policy. Read More »

Reflections on Serving Transboundary Waters and Communities

IJC admin | 2016/09/06

After five years, the time has come for me to end my service as a US Commissioner for the IJC. “My dream’s dream job” is often how I described this incredible opportunity bestowed upon me by President Obama and the US Senate. I have accepted the position of executive director of the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency, charged with managing the solid waste system including waste reduction, composting, recycling, disposal, and energy generation for my local community in Syracuse, New York. I depart the Commission on Labor Day 2016. Read More »

Departing Co-chair says Souris River Flooding Still a Concern

IJC admin | 2016/10/24

Following massive flooding on the Souris River in 2011, officials and advisers are focused on a plan of study to prepare for a future deluge. Todd Sando, who recently left his position as co-chairman of the International Souris River Board, made the plan the focus of his final days with the organization. Read More »

Coast to Coast: Boards Relay Progress at 2016 Fall Semi-Annual

IJC admin | 2016/11/14

The IJC calls together its international boards twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall, to check on progress in areas from coast to coast along the Canada-US border. These boards are made up of volunteers from agencies, academia, nonprofits and the public, who dedicate time and expertise to important issues in their watersheds. They presented at IJC’s Fall Semi-Annual Meeting during the last week of October, at the IJC’s Canadian Section Office in Ottawa, Ontario. Read More »

IJC Commissioners Visit Lake Champlain to Learn About Challenges and Adaptation Following 2011 Floods

IJC admin | 2016/11/14

Residents of the Richelieu River and Lake Champlain area have worked hard to rebuild and prepare following a devastating and lengthy flood in 2011. Following a visit to the watershed by IJC commissioners in July, the IJC has been given the go-ahead by governments to launch new studies of flooding in the basin. Read More »

Harmonized Data Can Improve Management of Rainy-Namakan Water Levels

IJC admin | 2016/11/14

The Rainy-Namakan Lakes water system has seen its water levels controlled by dams since the early 20th century, and measuring water elevation has been tricky. But a recent study harmonizing all data points has come up with a benchmark for all gauges. Read More »

A Look at the Experimental Lakes Area in Western Ontario

IJC admin | 2016/11/14

The Experimental Lakes Area is a freshwater research facility comprised of 58 small lakes and their watersheds. The area is set aside for scientific study of the impacts of climate change, agricultural runoff, water management, contaminants such as mercury and organic pollutants, and a growing list of new chemical substances. Read More »

International Cooperation a Boon to Sockeye Salmon in Okanagan River

IJC admin | 2016/11/14

The sockeye salmon has rebounded in the Okanagan River system since a low point in the 1990s. The system includes the internationally-located Osoyoos Lake and is part of the broader Columbia River basin. The rebound is thanks largely to local efforts to improve fish passage, water management and hatchery practices. Sockeye numbers during their annual run have increased from a low of 1,666 passing the Wells Dam in 1994 to a peak of 490,804 in 2014. Read More »

International Watersheds Initiative Projects Target Water Resources and Environment

IJC admin | 2016/11/14

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. Read More »

Okanagan Water Managers Sound Alarm as Zebra Mussels Draw Near

IJC admin | 2017/02/21

Invasive zebra and quagga mussels have made their way westward since being detected in the Great Lakes in 1988, recently encroaching into Montana waterways. The economic and ecological impact has water managers in the sensitive and sizable Columbia River basin – located in the Pacific Northwest – increasingly worried about keeping these hard-shelled bivalves out. Read More »

Local Officials Try to Slow Invasive March into Rainy Lake Region

IJC admin | 2017/02/21

Invasive zebra mussels are working their way west from the Great Lakes to the Rainy-Namakan basin while other invasive species already in the water system continue to spread. Local officials are trying to slow and halt their progress through a combination of education, outreach and boat inspections. Read More »

Kootenay Lake Board Expects Increased Winter Flow from Climate Change

IJC admin | 2017/02/01

Due to climate change, the International Kootenay Lake Board of Control expects increases in unregulated winter flows in coming years. That could lead to challenges in maintaining water elevations at or below target levels in the lake, located in British Columbia just north of the Washington state border. Studies show an increased potential for warmer, wetter and stormier winters and potential impacts on inflow. Read More »

Central Basins Prepare for Warmer, More Extreme Climate

IJC admin | 2017/02/21

In the prairie basins around the St. Mary-Milk Rivers and the Souris River, climate models are projecting hotter, more extreme weather in coming decades. In a region of the continent known for swinging between dry and wet periods, officials are already looking at adapting their current procedures to prepare. Read More »

The Impact of Snowpack is Felt Throughout the Year

IJC admin | 2017/05/17

For western water users, the size and melting rate of the winter snowpack – particularly in the mountains - is a strong indicator of how water supplies could look like for the rest of the year, impacting the ecosystem, farming, irrigation and communities along the way. Read More »

Spring Melts Bring Water and Flooding Threats Outside the Great Lakes

IJC admin | 2017/05/17

As winter turns to spring, waterways across the Canada-United States border get a fresh influx of water in what’s known as the spring freshet, with water entering the system from snowmelt and rainfall. This year, basins managed or monitored by the IJC are seeing strong flows and flood risks from central continental regions to the west coast. Read More »

Signs of Spring 2017

IJC admin | 2017/05/17

IJC boards from coast-to-coast have been watching the seasons change, starting with spring on March 20. Summer will be here on June 21. Read More »

Preparing for Climate Change in the Transboundary Region

IJC admin | 2017/05/17

Information is one tool being used to prepare for climate change, from the Columbia River basin in the west to the St. Croix River basin in the east. The IJC is developing a climate change guidance framework to help its boards plan for the future. The goal is to help determine how boards can address climate change within their mandates, what data is available and what’s needed, and what changes individual watersheds may face in coming decades. Read More »

North American Water Watch Now Online

IJC admin | 2017/05/19

The International Joint Commission has set an initiative to provide the public with information on short-term streamflow conditions and how they compare to historic conditions in an interactive, easy-to-use interface. In partnership with the US Geological Survey (USGS) and Environment and Climate Change Canada’s North American Water Watch team, we have created the IJC’s own North American Water Watch portal, an interactive map of real-time streamflow compared to historical streamflow for the day of year. Read More »

Wrapping Up our Spring Semi-Annual

IJC admin | 2017/05/17

May was the month for our Spring 2017 Semi-Annual Meeting, which brought IJC boards from across the transboundary region to Washington, D.C. Read More »

Watershed Board Projects Underway Across North America

IJC admin | 2017/05/17

Work under the International Watersheds Initiative (IWI) is continuing across the United States and Canada, with some research and educational projects wrapping up and others continuing. Read More »

Cheers to Canada 150, and an Ongoing Relationship with the US

IJC admin | 2017/06/28

For Canada, 2017 marks 150 years since Confederation. Celebrations are planned from coast to coast on July 1, Canada Day. Canadians are commemorating their history, culture, scientific achievements and more. And their neighbor to the south is joining the celebration by taking special note of the many ways in which our two countries demonstrate their friendship and multiple partnerships. Read More »

Preparing for Future Floods: Lake Champlain-Richelieu River Study Board Seeks Public Involvement

IJC admin | 2017/07/10

The IJC’s International Lake Champlain-Richelieu River Study Board has released its draft work plan to recommend flood mitigation measures as well as approaches for flood forecasting and preparedness. The board is hosting public meetings from July 11-13 in Vermont, Québec and New York and accepting public feedback until July 28. Read More »

Public Concerned About Development and Response in Lake Champlain-Richelieu River Basin

IJC admin | 2017/08/14

Since holding its first meeting in January, the International Lake Champlain-Richelieu River Study Board has been putting together a draft work plan to study flooding in the basin – notably the 2011 floods – and figure out what steps communities can take to mitigate future risks. The board’s mandate includes public involvement, and members held three meetings on July 11-13 in Vermont, Quebec and New York to solicit community concerns and input on the draft work plan. Read More »

‘Oh Yeh, That’s How it Works!’ --- Tools for Visualizing Water Flows

IJC admin | 2017/08/14

Looking at numbers on a spreadsheet is one thing. Showing what the numbers mean is another, especially when it comes to visualizing water flows. Read More »

Alewives Rebounding in Latest St. Croix Fish Count

IJC admin | 2017/08/14

The number of alewives returning to spawn in the St .Croix River has exploded this year, dramatically surpassing counts from recent years and boding well for the restoration of the species. Read More »

Flooding Studies, Regulation Plans, and the IJC Annual Activities Report

IJC admin | 2017/08/14

Thanks to trends showing changing precipitation patterns, rising temperatures and droughts in regions across the Canada-US border, the IJC spent 2016 working on new policies and recommendations to help governments adapt and prepare for the future, according to a newly released Annual Activities Report. Read More »

Annual Conference of Water Professionals Showcases Transboundary Cooperation

IJC admin | 2017/08/14

Hundreds of water professionals gathered for the annual conference of Canadian Water Resources Association (CWRA) in June in Lethbridge, Alberta. The three-day event brought people together along the rugged shore of the Old Man River to share information and best practices in all things water management. The conference featured keynote talks from leading water experts from Canada and the United States as well concurrent sessions related to topics including shared water resource challenges, water quality, modelling, and evolving policy and regulation. Read More »

Geographic Information Systems: Resources from IJC

IJC admin | 2017/09/06

As a transboundary organization, the IJC uses maps and geospatial data to help manage water levels and conduct watershed assessment and ecological inventory analysis. Read More »

Residents Generally Supportive, But Mixed on Preferred Proposed Rainy-Namakan Rule Curves

IJC admin | 2017/09/21

Residents of the Rainy River watershed in Ontario and Minnesota expressed different preferences for new rule curves during a series of public hearings held by the IJC from Aug. 16-18. The hearings were designed to gather public input on the International Rainy-Namakan Lakes Rule Curve Study Board’s draft recommendations to the Canadian and US governments, and the IJC’s position on the proposals. Read More »

Western Wildfires Put Water Systems at Risk of Pollution

IJC admin | 2017/10/18

2017 has been another intense year for wildfires in the western US and Canada, placing water infrastructure in the crosshairs. After many previous years of drought, last winter brought above-average rain and snowfall for much of the West. Although the precipitation was helpful to resupply the mountain snowpack and drinking water reservoirs, it helped spur explosive spring growth of vegetation which was quickly dried out by intense summer heat and drought. Read More »

Chronicling ‘The First Century of the International Joint Commission’

IJC admin | 2017/11/21

“The First Century of the International Joint Commission” was an informative two-day conference co-hosted by Drs. Murray Clamen and Daniel Macfarlane. Read More »

Fall 2017 Semi-Annual Brings Together Commissioners, Boards

IJC admin | 2017/11/22

As fall descended on Ottawa, Ontario, so did a contingent of IJC staff, Commissioners and board members. The IJC held its Fall 2017 Semi-Annual Meeting in late October, a unique opportunity for face-to-face discussions that happens twice a year. Read More »

Confronting the Flood Management Conundrum

IJC admin | 2017/11/22

2017 has been a brutal year for floods across the Canada-US border, and more broadly North America. Major flooding hit areas like British Columbia, Washington, Texas, Florida, New York, Ontario and Quebec due to heavy rains, snowmelt conditions, saturated soils and severe storms. 2016 also saw major flooding, including multiple billion-dollar floods in Texas and Louisiana, as did 2015. Strategies to reduce flood risks have been advocated for decades, yet by many accounts, flood damages are increasing. Why? Read More »

‘A River Film’ Documents Beauty and Complexity of Okana(o)gan Valley

IJC admin | 2017/11/22

The line to the Oliver Theatre wrapped around the corner for the theatrical debut of “A River Film” in Oliver, British Columbia. The new movie was produced and directed by Ascent Films for the Washington State Department of Ecology, with funding through the International Joint Commission (IJC)’s International Watersheds Initiative and local support from the Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB). Read More »

Watermarks from the West

IJC admin | 2017/11/22

The IJC’s Great Lakes Connection newsletter has been highlighting Watermarks for more than a year --- from Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior. But these video and written testimonials are just the beginning. Read More »

Flooding and Fire in the Osoyoos Lake Area

IJC admin | 2017/11/21

Thanks to heavy precipitation and an intense snowmelt from April into June, communities in the Osoyoos Lake region, located on the border of Washington and British Columbia, contended with serious springtime flooding which indirectly led into an increased risk of wildfires from plant growth. Read More »

Zebra Mussels Remain a Concern in the Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed

IJC admin | 2018/02/15

The good news is that zebra mussels have not made it into Lake of the Woods or the Rainy River, yet. The bad news is that zebra mussels have invaded several headwaters upstream in the Rainy-Lake of the Woods basin and infested hundreds of lakes nearby, outside the basin. Read More »

Lake of the Woods Algae and Nutrients Highlighted in Aquatic Ecosystem Health Report

IJC admin | 2018/02/15

Algae blooms during late summer and fall on Lake of the Woods remain a concern, as highlighted in a recent Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed Board annual Aquatic Ecosystem Health Report. Read More »

Droughts Hit Central Basins, Testing Water Managers

IJC admin | 2018/02/16

A “flash drought” in the summer of 2017 squeezed water supplies in transboundary watersheds in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, North Dakota and Montana, complicating the task of water managers to make sure everyone gets their share. Read More »

Public Advisory Groups Contribute to Lake Champlain and Souris River Studies

IJC admin | 2018/02/16

One of the ways that the International Joint Commission (IJC) encourages broad public participation and outreach in its scientific studies is through Public Advisory Groups, also known as PAGs. Read More »

Behind the Scenes of Studies on Lake Champlain and the Richelieu River

IJC admin | 2018/02/16

The International Joint Commission (IJC) is active in the Lake Champlain-Richelieu River basin, carrying out studies to address two major issues: flooding and water quality. This is welcome news for residents who experienced the catastrophic effects of floods in 2011. News of harmful algal blooms (HABs) in Lake Champlain, Missisquoi Bay and Lake Memphremagog also continue to command the attention of the public. Read More »

More Shared Waters Being Matched Up in Binational Mapping Project

IJC admin | 2018/02/20

The IJC might not exist if water stopped at the border between Canada and the United States. But rivers, streams, and lakes are not restricted by political boundaries, and for two nations and their governments to effectively manage water systems, adequately prepare for floods, apportion water and monitor climate change, they need to look at the big picture. That’s where the IJC’s data harmonization efforts come in. Read More »

Lake of the Woods Special Issue, Lake and Reservoir Management – Open Access Until March 15

IJC admin | 2018/03/01

There’s a time-limited opportunity to download key research papers that are unlocking the mystery of what is causing algae blooms on Lake of the Woods. Read More »

Subscribe to Great Lakes Connection & Water Matters

IJC admin | 2016/05/16

Read IJC’s newsletters to stay current on how Canada and the United States are working together to manage the health and flow of the waters shared by our two countries. Read More »

Excess Nutrients and Algal Blooms Focus of Study in Lakes Champlain and Memphremagog

IJC admin | 2018/06/13

The waters of Lake Champlain and Missisquoi Bay, as well as Lake Memphremagog, are a source of pride for the people of Quebec, Vermont and New York. They are home to diverse ecosystems—rich with fish and wildlife, and enjoyed by thousands of visitors. Unfortunately, they also are suffering from the effects of excess nutrients. Read More »

Next for the Souris River Study: More Public Participation

IJC admin | 2018/06/13

Flood prevention, water management and agricultural interests were popular topics during a recent public meeting and consultation on the draft Work Plan of the International Souris River Study Board (ISRSB). Read More »

Targets for St. Croix Water Flows and Lake Levels May Prove Difficult to Satisfy

IJC admin | 2018/06/13

Changes in weather patterns due to climate change could cause reservoir lake levels to go beyond minimum and maximum mandated levels in the St. Croix River system, according to a climate “stress test” recently undertaken by the International St. Croix River Watershed Board. Read More »

Kootenay Lake Dam Getting Major Upgrades

IJC admin | 2018/06/14

The Corra Linn Dam has held water in Kootenay Lake since it was commissioned in 1932 to generate electricity from the Kootenay River. But in all that time, the dam has received only minimal upgrades, aside from those made to three generator units. Starting this summer, an extensive project will begin replacing spillway gates and improving other elements of the dam. Read More »

Flooding Threatens Communities Across the Transboundary

IJC admin | 2018/06/14

Heavy snowpack in the Pacific Northwest and mountainous areas to the east is leading to flooding and flood risks along the Canada-US border, though the severity depends on how quickly it melts. Read More »

Social Science Adds Twist to Flooding Study

IJC admin | 2018/06/14

Currently in full swing, the Lake Champlain-Richelieu River flooding study is a major undertaking. Read More »

Story Map Helps Visualize Water Quality in Red River Basin

IJC admin | 2018/06/14

The Red River, which flows north between North Dakota and Minnesota and through southern Manitoba, isn’t the only US-Canadian waterway facing issues with pollutants such as nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfates. But as a watershed that spans two countries, an extra wrinkle is presented in compiling data to quantify the problem. Information from two countries, two states and one province needs to be combined to understand the extent of river conditions. Read More »

Highlights from the 2018 Spring Semi-Annual Meeting

IJC admin | 2018/06/14

The IJC’s Spring 2018 Semi-Annual Meeting kicked off with the Lake Champlain-Richelieu River Study Board and concluded with the Accredited Officers of the St. Mary and Milk Rivers. Read More »

Fish Tags Help Inform Managers of Spawning Sites and Fish Passage in Red River

IJC admin | 2018/08/17

Managing sustainable fish populations in the Red River and into Lake Winnipeg requires cross-boundary cooperation and a whole lot of data about where fish are spawning, feeding and living. An ongoing binational project tagging fish to track their movements is beginning to show how invasive common carp and native species such as channel catfish, bigmouth buffalo, lake sturgeon and walleye are using their environment and where there are bottlenecks in the river network. Read More »

New Rule Curves on the Rainy and Namakan Lakes – What’s Changed?

IJC admin | 2018/08/17

Among the winners of new rule curves for Rainy and Namakan lakes are vital fish species like cisco and lake whitefish, the water-based recreation industry and muskrats. The curves went into effect this month. Read More »

‘A River Film’ Keeps Rolling Along

IJC admin | 2018/08/17

“A River Film” is a documentary about the transboundary Okanagan/Okanogan River, but its message pertains to all rivers in the West. While the challenges of each river system are unique, there are themes common to all rivers: How we care for and protect them, how we share them, and how we work together to maintain their health. Read More »

Public Voice Important Part of Souris River Study: Survey Coming Soon

IJC admin | 2018/08/17

Following a public meeting which drew about 60 people to Saskatchewan on June 25, the International Joint Commission continues to seek feedback from people living and working in the Souris River basin. Read More »

Could Dust Impact Water Management in the West?

IJC admin | 2018/08/17

Recent studies by the U.S. Department of Energy indicate that dust and soot particles can speed up the melting of mountain snowpacks, potentially impacting water supplies that rely on snowmelt. Snowpack melting can now occur weeks earlier than normal in the Rocky Mountains of the western United States due to dust and climate factors. How might dust and soot impact management of water on rivers shared between the western sections of Canada and the US? Read More »

Flooding and Water Quality: A Tale of Two Studies

IJC admin | 2018/08/20

Two different projects are currently underway in the Lake Champlain-Richelieu River system that will assist the International Joint Commission in responding to two recent requests from Canadian and US governments. Though in the same watershed, each project has unique objectives, funding structures, and timeframes for completion. Let’s take a closer look at both requests and what they’ll mean for people concerned about water quality and flooding. Read More »

Climate Change and Dams Present Challenges for Wild Rice at Rainy Lake

IJC admin | 2018/08/17

Wild rice has been struggling in historically fertile ground at Rainy Lake, located at the Ontario-Minnesota border. While climate change has played a role in the declining success of the notoriously sensitive plant, water level and flow management by humans has played a part, too. Read More »