International Joint Commission (IJC)
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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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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 »

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 »

Rainy and Namakan Lakes Rule Curves Study Board to hold public meetings July 26-28, 2016


Since August of 2015, the 2000 Rule Curves that are used to regulate water levels on Rainy and Namakan Lakes have been under review. The IJC’s International Rainy Namakan Lakes Rule Curves Study Board will be holding a series of public meetings in the watershed to give updates on their progress to date and to gather feedback from the public. These meetings follow up on consultations held with stakeholders in September 2015 and ongoing input from the Rule Curve Public Advisory Group. 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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »