Volume 22, Issue 2, 1997
July/August 1997

The International Joint Commission is an independent international organization established under the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909. Its purpose is to help prevent disputes over use of waters shared by Canada and the United States and to provide advice on questions of mutual concern when requested by the two federal governments. Three members are appointed by the President of the United States, with advice and approval of the Senate, and three by the Governor-in-Council of Canada, on the advice of Prime Minister.

Leonard Legault
Canadian Section Chair

Dr. Pierre Béland
Francis Murphy
Thomas L. Baldini
U.S. Section Chair

Susan B. Bayh
Alice Chamberlin



Findings and Results

This issue of Focus provides both good news and bad news stories. A fuller picture of how persistent toxic substances are harming human health in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River basin emerged from findings presented at a major conference in Montreal this May. Other findings show that persistent toxic substances may have prevented Lake Trout populations from becoming self sustaining, despite decades of effort to reach this goal. While these findings may confirm our understanding, they also point to how large the problem is that remains to be addressed.

The results achieved at Waukegan Harbor and other Great Lakes locations show the other side of this picture. Removing the sources of contamination can breathe new life back into degraded areas. In Waukegan Harbor, fish consumption advisories were removed, signs of redevelopment have replaced "for sale" signs and the outlook for the entire community has improved.

The International Joint Commission is also working with governments to develop indicators to better measure progress toward achieving the goals of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. If scientists, citizens, industry and governments can track results with specific indicators, they are more likely to perservere in their efforts. And as the gains in Waukegan Harbor demonstrate, when these groups work together to restore water quality, the results can be impressive indeed.

FOCUS Staff:

Frank Bevacqua, Jennifer Day
Bruce Jamieson, Designer
Doug Bondy, Columns Editor

International Joint Commission
1250 23rd Street NW, Suite 100
Washington, DC 20440
Tel. (202) 736-9000
Fax (202) 736-9015
International Joint Commission
100 Metcalfe Street, 18th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1P 5M1
Tel. (613) 995-2984
Fax (613) 993-5583
International Joint Commission
Great Lakes Regional Office
100 Ouellette Ave, Eighth Floor
Windsor, ON N91 6T3
Tel. (519) 257-6700
Fax (519)257-6740
(519) 257-6734 - for IJC reports
P.O. Box 32869
Detroit, MI 48232
(313) 226-2170

Revised: July 7, 1997
Maintained by Kevin McGunagle, mcgunaglek@ijc.wincom.net