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

Previous Consultations


Watershed Management Plans to Reduce Nutrient Pollution in Lake Erie (February 6, 2018 - March 7, 2018)

The International Joint Commission invited public comment on two reports from its Great Lakes Water Quality Board: Evaluating Watershed Management Plans, Nutrient Management Approaches in the Lake Erie Basin and Key Locations Outside of the Lake Erie Basin (August 2016) and Watershed Management of Nutrients in Lake Erie (December 2017). Both reports outline how watershed management plans should be used to manage nutrient pollution in Lake Erie, and provide recommendations for key success factors needed to achieve meaningful nutrient load reductions.


Great Lakes Water Quality Triennial Assessment of Progress (Jan. 18 - Apr. 15, 2017)
The International Joint Commission (IJC) invited public comment on progress by the governments of Canada and the United States under the 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. Citizens in both countries participated in a series of online and in-person discussions and meetings to comment on the IJC's draft Triennial of Assessment of Progress report on the governments of Canada and the United States' Progress Report.Their ideas will contribute to the IJC’s first assessment of progress made by the governments to restore and protect the Great Lakes under the 2012 Agreement.


Prevention of microplastic pollution entering the Great Lakes (Oct. 12 - Nov. 10, 2016)
The IJC invited public comment on its Preliminary Recommendations on Microplastics in the Great Lakes for binational, science, policy, and education solutions to microplastic pollution.

Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs) in the Great Lakes (Jul. 5 - Aug. 5, 2016)
The IJC requested comments from the public on Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs) in the Great Lakes, a report proposing a strategy for federal, state and provincial governments to reduce the adverse effects on the environment of PBDEs.

Assessing the Effectiveness of Programs under the GLWQA (Feb. 4 - Mar. 31, 2016)
The IJC invited public comment on 'Testing a Framework for Assessing the Effectiveness of Programs and Other Measures under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement’. 
Under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) the IJC is responsible for assessing the progress of governments in implementing the Agreement.  


Lake Champlain-Richelieu Flood Forecasting and Mapping (Nov. 16-Dec. 14, 2015)
The IJC invited public comment on a draft report to enhance flood preparedness and warnings for Lake Champlain and the Richelieu River. The Commission also invited the public to preview associated flood inundation maps. The draft report was prepared by the International Lake Champlain-Richelieu River Technical Working Group (TWG) at the request of the IJC.

IJC invites public comment on draft flood forecasting and mapping report for Lake Champlain and Richelieu River and previews flood inundation maps - See more at:

Report on High Water Levels in the Rainy River Watershed in 2014 (June 2 - August 31)
The IJC invited public comment on a report on the 2014 high water levels in the Rainy River watershed. The report was prepared by the Water Levels Committee of the International Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed Board (IRLWWB)  at the request of the IJC. It provides a review of the conditions that led to high water in the Rainy River watershed in 2014 and responds to a number of questions posed by the IJC regarding the management of water quantity in the watershed. 

2014 Canada-U.S. Air Quality Agreement Progress Report (May 4 - July 31)
Under the Air Quality Agreement, the IJC invites the public to comment and provide a synthesis of comments to the governments of Canada and the United States, to assist them with implementing the Agreement. 

Ten-year Review of the International Joint Commission’s Report on Protection of the Waters of the Great Lakes (May 19 - June 30)
The IJC accepted comments on draft report by consultants Ralph Pentland and Alex Mayer that analyzes the progress the Great Lakes states and provinces have made over the last 10 years in defending the lakes from diversions, bulk exports and large-scale withdrawals.


Lake of the Woods Water Quality Plan of Study
(November 12 - December 11)
The IJC accepted comments on a water quality plan of study for the Lake of the Woods Basin. The public was invited to comment on 32 projects identified in the Plan of Study on how to improve understanding of the basin ecosystem and support a balanced, binational approach to water quality management.  The Plan also outlines three funding options for consideration. 


Lake Erie Ecosystem Priority Report (August 29 - October 5)
The IJC accepted comments regarding the Lake Erie Ecosystem Priority report.  In addition to the online comment form, the public was also invited to attend a series of open houses/public meetings on both sides of the border. More than 400 people attended public meetings after a draft report was released in August 2013. The final report reflects more than 130 comments and additional research.

Proposal for Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River Regulation
(June 13 - August 30)
The International Joint Commission invited public comment on a proposal for managing water levels and flows that will continue to contribute to the economic and social well-being of the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River basin, improve the long-term ecological health of the lake and upper river, and help manage future changes. The International Joint Commission held hearings on the Proposal for Lake Ontario and the St Lawrence from July 14 to July 19, 2013. Written comments will be accepted until August 30, 2013.

Adaptive Management in the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence River system (July 31 - August 30)
Climate change poses new challenges for adapting to fluctuating Great Lakes water levels. Although the future is not certain, increases in temperature and alterations in patterns of precipitation are likely to affect water levels in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River system. There is strong evidence that in the future we will likely experience more extreme water levels – both high and low – that are outside the historical range experienced over the past century. Collaborative, integrated adaptive management offers an approach that helps address the uncertainties of an evolving future associated with climate change and the potential for extreme water levels and associated impacts.  Adaptive management is a structured, iterative process for continually improving management results by learning from the outcomes of previous policies and practices. The International Joint Commission established the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Task Team to develop an Adaptive Management Plan for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River System. The Commission is inviting comment on the final report of the Task Team before making recommendations to the governments of Canada and the United States.

New Advisory Boards under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement 2012
The International Joint Commission (IJC) invited the public to comment on its proposed functions, structure and member competencies for its two advisory boards under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement 2012. The Agreement directs the Commission to create a Great Lakes Water Quality Board (WQB) to be its principal advisor, and a Great Lakes Science Advisory Board (SAB) to inform the Commission and the WQB on scientific issues related to the Agreement.  In keeping with the Commission's view that transparency and public input are valuable to guide its decisions, the Commission is giving the public an opportunity to comment on the proposed detailed functions (i.e., mandate), structure and the competencies required for membership on these two boards. The detailed functions proposed by the Commission are subject to the approval of the two federal governments.  The public had 30 days to review and comment at  Comments were accepted until midnight July 24, 2013. The public was also invited to submit nominations for members of the board from Sept. 5 to Oct. 5, 2013. Applications werebe submitted on-line at

Air Quality Progress Report 2012
The International Joint Commission is interested in your views on the important work being carried out under the Canada - United States Air Quality Agreement. What do you think about the ongoing efforts of the two countries to address transboundary air quality? What issues do you think should have the highest priority? What do you think about the information provided in this report? The IJC invites you to send written comments on this report until September 27, 2013.


Lake Superior Regulation: Addressing Uncertainty in Upper Great Lakes Water Levels 
The International Upper Great Lakes Study examines whether the regulation of outflows from Lake Superior through the compensating works and power dams on the St. Marys River at Sault Ste. Marie might be improved to take into consideration the evolving needs of users on Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, and Erie. The Study report also examines the potential future impacts of climate change, a management strategy to better anticipate and respond to future extreme water levels, the feasibility and implications of restoring water levels in Lake Michigan-Huron, and multi-lake regulation and its impacts throughout the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence system. The IJC held public hearings in July 2012. 

Renewal of the Osoyoos Lake order
Water levels of Lake Osooyos have been regulated by the IJC since 1945, when it approved the construction of a dam downstream from the lake. Under orders of the IJC, a new structure was constructed in 1987 to replace the dam. The orders set maximum and minimum lake elevations of 911.5 feet and 909 feet during normal years. During a drought year, water may be stored to a lake elevation as high as 913 feet. During periods of very high snowmelt runoff, natural conditions may force the lake above the elevation of 913 feet. The IJC held public hearings in July 2012.

Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River (LOSLR): A New Path Forward
The International Joint Commission developed a potential new approach for managing water levels and flows in the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River system. The system's current water regulation plan has become outdated. It is unable to deal with future conditions and has hurt the region's ecosystem. The IJC's proposed approach attempts to balance the region's many interests, and ensure it has a water regulation system that can address current and future challenges. The IJC will held public information sessions in late spring of 2012 that allowed for open dialogue, and ample opportunities for questions from the public about the proposed new approach. Comments received by June 15, 2012 were considered in developing a proposal that included a revised order of approval, regulation plan, adaptive management plan and a governance structure. 


Alewives and the St. Croix: An Adaptive Management Plan
From June 15 to September 17, 2010, the International St. Croix River Watershed Board (Board) accepted public comments on a draft plan to restore the sea-run (anadromous) alewife, a native fish species, to the St. Croix River basin. The plan was drafted at the Board’s request by fisheries experts from the binational St. Croix Fisheries Steering Committee, an informal grouping of State, Provincial and Federal fisheries management agencies from both sides of the border. The plan proposed to reopen the river to the alewife while maintaining the basin’s economically important smallmouth bass fishery at current or higher levels. Because the alewife must swim upstream to spawn, they are vital to the food webs and nutrient cycles of marine, freshwater and land habitats in the basin. As bait, they help support coastal fisheries and lobstering. Fossil evidence shows alewives were present in the basin from prehistoric times. In addition to accepting written comments, the Board convened its annual public meeting on August 4, 2010 in Princeton, Maine. Due to the level of interest, the draft alewife restoration plan was the sole topic of the meeting. In lieu of responding individually to the more than 100 written comments received and the additional comments made at the public meeting, the Board has updated its Frequently Asked Questions to reflect its responses, and those of the plan drafters, to the most frequent comments on the draft plan. The draft plan and supporting materials (including the original and the updated FAQ) and the written comments on the draft plan, will remain available on the Board’s Publications page on the IJC website.