International Joint Commission (IJC)
More than a century of cooperation protecting shared waters


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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 »

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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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

The World Needs More IJC


Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion and US Ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman spoke at the IJC’s recent Fall Semi-Annual Meeting in Ottawa. Here are excerpts from their talk. We appreciate their presence at our gathering and their kind words. 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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Canadian Prairie Climate Atlas Anticipates Effects on Water Resources


The Prairie Climate Atlas is a new interactive website designed to communicate the implications of climate change to those who live and work in the Canadian Prairie Provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The Atlas is the flagship product of the new Prairie Climate Centre at the University of Winnipeg. Climate models have long indicated that northern, continental climates – including the climate of the Canadian Prairies – are expected to warm much faster than the global average. 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 »

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 »

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 »