International Joint Commission
Spring 2001
Volume 26, Issue 1



Tell the governments your views on transboundary air quality

Your comment is invited on efforts to address transboundary air quality

The IJC would like to know how well you think the United States and Canada are doing to reduce transboundary air pollution under their 1991 Agreement on Air Quality.

The Agreement, which can be found on the IJC web site at http://www.ijc.org/rel/agree/air.html , intends to provide a "practical and effective instrument to address shared concerns regarding transboundary air pollution." It also provides an opportunity for you to submit comments to the IJC on the most recent review of progress, the 2000 Progress Report , prepared by the governments’ Air Quality Committee.

The 2000 Progress Report reviews acid rain control programs, monitoring, prevention of air quality deterioration, visibility protection, notification, assessment and mitigation of significant transboundary air pollution, and scientific information exchange. The report also describes cooperation between Canada and the United States on ground-level ozone and particulate matter. You may obtain the 2000 Progress Report of the Air Quality Committee from the IJC or the following website: http://www.ec.gc.ca/pdb/can_us/qual/2000/aqa_2000_e.pdf.

In December 2000, after the Progress Report was printed, the two countries announced that a new Ozone Annex to the Agreement had been brought into force. The Annex sets targets for reducing smog-producing emissions in both countries. The full text of the Ozone Annex can be found at: http://www.ec.gc.ca/air/ozone-annex_e.shtml .

The IJC will provide a synthesis of public comments to the two federal governments for their consideration in further developing programs under this Agreement.

Please send comments by email, fax or letter to either the U.S. or Canadian Sections of the IJC by April 30, 2001.



Study of Lake Ontario outflows moves ahead

The International Lake Ontario - St. Lawrence River Study has moved ahead on several fronts since the last issue of FOCUS . As reported previously, the study will review the criteria set by the IJC in 1956 for regulating Lake Ontario outflows.

IJC Commissioners have established a 14-member study board with experts drawn from various levels of government, academia, Native peoples and the community at large. The study board, lead by U.S. co-chair Eugene Stakhiv and Canadian co-chair Doug Cuthbert, is responsible for carrying out the study directive issued by the IJC and ensuring the managerial and scientific integrity of the study.

The IJC has also established a binational 24-member Public Interest Advisory Group to further the Commission’s goal of comprehensive public participation in the study. The Public Interest Advisory Group will provide public involvement guidance, consultation and assistance to the study board, and periodically report on its work to the IJC. An article about this group will appear in the spring issue of FOCUS .

In January, a workshop was held in Montréal to develop a work plan and budget for the study, and to form several of the technical work groups responsible for conducting various elements of the study. The groups will deal with such areas as recreational boating and tourism, evaluation methodologies, hydrology, commercial shipping, hydropower, modeling, shoreline and environment. One group was formed to ensure that the data collected in the study serves all of these efforts. As in other areas of the study, the working groups are fully binational with equal representation from each country.

Two full-time study co-managers will assist the study board with its work. Mr. Ed Eryuzlu has been hired as the Canadian co-manager and support is currently being provided in the United States by the Buffalo District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers until hiring for the U.S. co-manager is completed.

In an effort to leverage resources and take advantage of existing data, the study personnel are reaching out to academics, governments at all levels and others to coordinate existing studies with the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence study.

More information about study activities can be found at www.ijc.org .



Members of the International Lake Ontario - St. Lawrence River Study Board

Dr. Eugene Stakhiv , U.S. co-chair. Dr. Stakhiv has pioneered the use of modeling as a decision-making and public involvement tool in watershed planning. He is chief of policy and special studies, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Institute for Water Resources.

Doug Cuthbert , Canadian co-chair. As water issues division manager, Mr. Cuthbert is responsible for Environment Canada’s work on water quantity issues throughout Ontario and the Great Lakes.

John Cahill , as Commissioner, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, has spearheaded Governor Pataki’s efforts to make New York a national leader in environmental protection and natural resource management. Mr. Cahill will be assisted by Sandra LeBarron, director, Region 6, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

André Carpentier is a civil engineer currently in charge of transboundary basins for the Quebec Department of the Environment.

Lynn Cleary has held several management positions in the Canadian Public Service. Recently, she was the regional director of the St. Lawrence Center of Environment Canada. She is currently the director of the Biosphere of Montreal.

Ian Crawford has served as senior advisor on water and natural resource issues to the Province of Ontario since 1984. Currently he is manager of water power projects, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.

Dalton Foster is a retired biochemist. Long concerned with the ecology of the St. Lawrence River, he currently is technical advisor to the International Water Levels Coalition. He also serves as U.S. co-chair of the Public Interest Advisory Group.

F. Henry Lickers serves as director, Environmental Division, Mohawk Council of Akwesasne and has long worked on Great Lakes and St. Lawrence ecosystem health issues.

Dr. Daniel P. Loucks has pursued a distinguished career in many areas of water resources management and systems analysis. Currently he is a professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University.

Fred Parkinson is a hydraulic engineer and private consultant who has led ice, navigation and sediment transport studies of the St. Lawrence River and other waters. He also serves as Canadian co-chair of the Public Interest Advisory Group.

Dr. Frank Quinn is an expert on climate change and senior research hydrologist at the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Dr. Frank Sciremammano Jr. is professor of mechanical engineering at the Rochester Institute of Technology. His research has focused on long-range water level forecasting and mitigating environmental pollution.



Water levels vary along U.S.-Canadian border

Water supply conditions vary this year in the lakes and rivers where the IJC has responsibilities for water flows and apportionment. While current information on levels in watersheds along the boundary can be accessed from the IJC’s website at www.ijc.org , notable highlights are provided.

In the Great Lakes basin, the levels of lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron have fallen for the fourth year in a row. Lake Superior’s level has not been lower at this time of year since 1926, and lakes Michigan and Huron, which rise and fall as one lake, have not been lower at this time of year since the mid-1960s. All three are expected to remain below chart datum, a low water reference level for navigation, into the month of May. Lake Erie is below average and Lake Ontario is near average. Both are above chart datum and above their levels of last year. While Lake Erie is likely to remain below average into the summer, Lake Ontario may be either slightly above or slightly below long-term average levels depending on how wet or dry the weather is this spring and summer. Further downstream, the average level in Montréal Harbour during February set a new record low. Levels in Montréal Harbour, while above chart datum, are expected to remain well below average for the next few months.

To the west of the Great Lakes, soil moisture remains high in the Red River basin due to heavy rains this past fall. Snow cover over most of the basin is only somewhat above normal, except for the extreme southern portions that are well above normal. There is a minor to moderate flooding potential over most of the basin, except for the extreme southern portions of the basin where the potential exists for moderate to major flooding. With normal weather conditions, minor agricultural flooding could occur; with unfavorable weather conditions, extensive flooding of agricultural lands and urban flooding could occur in some areas, particularly in the southern portions of the basin.

In the Souris River basin, soil moisture and snow cover are both well above average. Potential flooding is a concern even with favorable weather conditions, and unfavorable weather conditions could produce moderate to major flooding in the lower Souris basin. Controlled releases are being made from major reservoirs in Saskatchewan and North Dakota to make flood control storage available in preparation for the forecasted above-normal spring runoff. Based on the snow pack, the outlook is for below-average stream flow in the St. Mary and Milk rivers this spring.

In Idaho, Washington and British Columbia, precipitation during the fall and winter 2000-2001 has been at near record low levels. Snow pack and corresponding spring and summer runoff in the basins above Kootenay and Osoyoos lakes is expected to be about 50 percent of normal.



Montréal Public Forum Update

The IJC has been busy planning for the Public Forum on Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Water Quality, September 14-15, 2001 in Montréal. We will be regularly updating the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence community on our progress through the use of newsletters and our web site.

Watch for the program and registration material to be mailed in mid-May. Current information about the Public Forum is also available at www.ijc.org .


People

On January 20, 2001, President George W. Bush accepted the resignation of U.S. Commissioners Alice Chamberlin and Susan Bayh. The IJC wishes them well and thanks them for their seven years of service. Thomas Baldini will continue to serve as chair of the U.S. Section.

IJC welcomes the recent appointments to its boards.

Dr. Nancy M. Milton
Director, U.S. Geological Survey,
Great Lakes Science Center
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Council of Great Lakes Research Managers
Dr. Donna Mergler
Professor, Neurobiology
University of Québec at Montréal
Great Lakes Science Advisory Board
Robert Metcalf
Ontario Power Generation
Toronto, Ontario
International St. Lawrence River Board of Control
Doug Brown
Water Issues Division
Environment Canada
International St. Lawrence River Board of Control
Fredrick W. Kircheis
Executive Director,
Maine Atlantic Salmon Commission
Augusta, Maine
International St. Croix River Board of Control
And we thank those who have finished their service.
Lynn Cleary
Director, Biosphere
Environment Canada
Council of Great Lakes Research Managers
Dr. Gregory J. Smith
Senior Advisor,
USGS Biological Resources Division
Council of Great Lakes Research Managers
Dr. Fred Edgecombe
Canadian Plastics Industry Association
Council of Great Lakes Research Managers
D. Wayne Draper
Transboundary Air Issues Branch
Environment Canada
International Air Quality Advisory Board
Doug Cuthbert
Water Issues Division Manager
Environment Canada
International St. Lawrence River Board of Control

 


Hot Off the Press

For the full text of IJC reports, click on the publications button at www.ijc.org or go to the specific web site below. Limited numbers of hard copies are also available from the IJC at (519)257-6734 in Canada, (313)226-2170 ext. 6734 in the United States, and commission@windsor.ijc.org by email.

Transboundary Watersheds First report to the governments of Canada and the United States under the Reference of November 19, 1998 with respect to international watershed boards http://www.ijc.org/rel/comm/wtr_shede.pdf .

IJC 1999 Great Lakes Water Quality Forum Transcripts from the September 24-26 meeting held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin are available online. www.ijc.org/php/publications/html/postprog.html .

IJC introduces Environmental Health in Family Medicine , which has been prepared by the Commission’s Health Professionals Task Force and contains materials intended to help health professionals address environmental health issues in family medicine. This set of six modules is based on clinical cases and can be used by health professionals for self-learning, small-group learning or teaching. Each module is co-authored by a family physician and an environmental health specialist. The modules are available on-line at http://www.ijc.org/rel/boards/hptf/modules/content.html or on CD by sending an e-mail to houstonj@ottawa.ijc.org .

Stay in the loop! The fastest way to receive updates about new IJC reports and activities is by email. To register for regular updates, visit our website at www.ijc.org and click on the "IJC Announce" button.


What's Happening

What's Happening

Public meetings of the IJC and its boards:

March 28, 2001

IJC public consultation on the St. Lawrence River Area of Concern , Cornwall, ON

March 29, 2001

Lake Erie at the Millennium Modeling Workshop , Windsor, ON. Co-sponsored by the Council of Great Lakes Research Managers

June 13-14, 2001

St. Lawrence River Board of Control public meeting, Kingston, ON

June 27 2001

Lake Superior Board of Control public meeting, Port Severn, ON

September 14-15, 2001

Public Forum on Great Lakes - St. Lawrence River Water Quality , Montréal, PQ


Contact Us

The IJC is interested in your views on any of our activities. You may contact us in the following ways:



    Canadian
Section
  United States
Section
  Great Lakes Regional Office

Contacts   Murray Clamen
Secretary
Fabien Lengellé
Public Affairs
  Gerald Galloway
Secretary
Frank Bevacqua
Public Affairs
  Tom Behlen
Director
Jennifer Day
Public Affairs

Email   Commission@ottawa.ijc.org   Commission@washington.ijc.org   Commission@windsor.ijc.org

Mail   234 Laurier Avenue West
22nd Floor
Ottawa, ON
K1P 6K6
  1250 23rd Street NW
Suite 100
Washington, DC 20440
  100 Ouellette Avenue, 8th Floor
Windsor, ON
N9A 6T3
or
P.O. Box 32869
Detroit, MI 48232-2869

Fax   613.993.5583   202.467.7046   519.257-6740

Telephone   613.995.2984   202.736.9000   519.257.6700
or
313.226.2170

Home Page www.ijc.org



Commissioners



       
  Thomas Baldini,
U.S. Section Chair

Leonard Legault,
Canadian Section Chair

Robert Gourd

 
       


The International Joint Commission prevents and resolves disputes between the United States of America and Canada under the 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty and pursues the common good of both countries as an independent and objective advisor to the two governments.