International Niagara Board of Control

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International Cooperation on the Niagara River

The Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 requires that the United States and Canada, together, approve projects that affect the levels and flows of waters along their common boundary. Water diversions in the Niagara River for hydroelectric power projects in both countries were approved by the 1950 Niagara Treaty. Water diverted from the river above Niagara Falls is returned to the river below the Falls. The 1950 Niagara Treaty specifies the minimum amount of water that must flow over the Falls at different times.

The International Joint Commission

The 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty also created the International Joint Commission to help prevent and resolve disputes over the use of waters along the boundary between Canada and the United States. The Commission was asked to help implement the 1950 Niagara Treaty by overseeing the design, construction and operation of works in the Niagara River that control the level of the Chippawa-Grass Island Pool. The Commission also oversees the annual installation of an ice boom that is designed to reduce ice jams in the Niagara River. The Commission requires that these activities meet certain conditions to ensure that interests in both countries are protected.


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