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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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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »