Volume 23, Issue 2, 1998
July/August 1998

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



Restoring Our Waters

People want clean lakes without persistent toxic substances. This simple concept is at the heart of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, the purpose of which is "to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the waters of the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem." Tremendous gains have been made toward achieving the purpose of the Agreement, yet despite decades of effort, society has not gone far enough. There is overwhelming evidence that certain persistent toxic substances impair human intellectual capacity, change behavior, damage the immune system and compromise reproductive capacity. Yet most communities in the Areas of Concern do not have the support they need to address the largest local source of these substances: contaminated sediments. Atmospheric transport, agricultural runoff and other sources and pathways of persistent toxic substances must also be addressed. To focus attention on what remains to be done, IJC's Ninth Biennial Report on Great Lakes Water Quality recommends a series of specific actions to achieve specific results. These recommendations, when implemented, will allow the Commission to measure progress toward the Agreement's purpose: restoring our waters.

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