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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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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Governments Team Up on LAMPs for Great Lakes


LAMPs will be shining a light on environmental and other challenges in the Great Lakes. LAMP stands for Lakewide Action and Management Plan, and work to update plans for the Great Lakes is laid out in the latest version of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between Canada and the U.S., which entered into force in early 2013. 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 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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »