he U.S. Army Corps of Engineers initiated a naviga
In response to discussions between Canadian and U.S.
tion review of the Great Lakes system for several
officials, the two countries, on May 1, 2003 signed a
reasons, including a 1999 mandate by the U.S. Water
“memorandum of cooperation to ensure the ongoing
Resources Development Act;  increased trade and eco-
success of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway.”  This
nomic growth;  the aging infrastructure of the St. Lawrence
arrangement will help the U.S. Department of Transporta-
Seaway;  and the continued economic importance of the
tion and Transport Canada to collaborate on a comprehen-
Great Lakes region, especially in light of the limited
sive transportation study of the waterway, specifically to:
capacity of the existing locks system to handle international
shipping.  The Corps released its draft Great Lakes
“identify factors and trends affecting the domestic and
Navigation System, Reconnaissance Report on April 24,
international marine transportation industries.
“assess current and future transportation requirements
for the waterway.
After review and revision, the report was approved on
“evaluate the reliability and condition of the waterway,
February 13, 2003 “as a basis for further study needed to
including the costs and benefits of maintaining the
support a [U.S.] Federal decision on whether to proceed
existing infrastructure.
with feasibility phase studies.”  However, prior to initiation
“assess the environmental, as well as the engineering
of the feasibility study, it was concluded that further
and economic factors, associated with the current and
information was required to support a decision on whether
future needs of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway
to proceed.  A supplement to the reconnaissance report
system and the transportation infrastructure on which
will include an assessment of baseline conditions for the
it depends.”
environment, engineering features, and economic condi-
tions, as well as public involvement and coordination.
The review will also require close cooperation with the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers, the Canadian St. Lawrence
Seaway Management Corporation, and the U.S. Depart-
ment of Transportation’s St. Lawrence Seaway Develop-
Concern has been expressed that changes to the
ment Corporation.
infrastructure of the St. Lawrence Seaway system
Concern has been expressed that changes to the infrastruc-
might adversely impact the environmental quality
ture of the St. Lawrence Seaway system might adversely
impact the environmental quality and integrity of the Great
and integrity of the Great Lakes basin ecosystem.
Lakes basin ecosystem.  Among the environmental con-
cerns are greater access by, and habitat for alien invasive
species;  increased exposure, dredging, and disposal of
contaminated sediment;  shoreline erosion;  and changes
in lake water levels which, in turn, could affect water
temperature and fish habitat.  The Water Quality Board is
therefore tracking developments as the multi-year study
proceeds, and will keep the IJC apprized of developments.
The status of the study can be tracked through the web at: