International Joint Commission
Spring/Summer 2003
Volume 28, Issue 1


IJC adopts new logo



The logo on the front cover of Focus is the new official symbol for the IJC. The Canadian maple leaf flag and U.S. stars and stripes represent the two countries. Five wavy bars symbolize waterways and allude to the number of Great Lakes. The wreath highlights Canada and the United States working together to monitor the transboundary environment. The scroll and quills illustrate the signing of the 1909 Boundary Water Treaty.



IJC works with governments to collect essential information on restoration of Great Lakes Areas of Concern

Nearly a decade after the revised 1978 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement was signed by Canada and the United States to "restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the waters of the Great Lakes basin ecosystem," the two nations agreed that the worst areas would be given priority attention. Subsequently, 43 such areas were designated as Areas of Concern because they contained contaminated sediment, urban wastewater pollution, nonpoint pollution, inland contaminated sites and/or degraded habitat to a greater degree than the rest of the Great Lakes. Twenty-six of these are solely in the United States, 12 are solely in Canada and five are located on binational waterways.

Now, 15 years after the Areas of Concern were designated, the IJC has undertaken a comprehensive review of progress and issued Status of Restoration Activities in Great Lakes Areas of Concern: A Special Report. Over the past year, the IJC requested information from the U.S. and Canadian governments, conducted surveys of officials and community representatives on restoration activities, management and accountability for the process, and key challenges and successes. The Commission appreciates the cooperation and assistance of the two governments in preparing the Special Report.

The IJC found a significant level of effort to restore the Great Lakes Areas of Concern. Two of the areas in Canada have been delisted and one in each country is recognized as being an Area of Concern in a recovery stage. To date, approximately $33 million CND has been spent on sediment remediation and $270 million CND has been spent on wastewater infrastructure in Canadian Areas of Concern. Approximately $160 million USD has been spent to remediate sediment and several billion dollars on wastewater infrastructure in U.S. Areas of Concern. The IJC also identifies key challenges facing the governments in restoring the areas, including ensuring leadership and accountability, securing resources, defining restoration targets, setting priorities and monitoring recovery.

Information on the status of restoration for each Area of Concern, using indicators of progress, is compiled in the Special Report and found on the IJC website. The IJC recommends that the two governments update the indicators of progress and invites them to help maintain a "living," web-based document available to the public. Copies of Status of Restoration Activities in Great Lakes Areas of Concern: A Special Report are available from the IJC website at www.ijc.org, or from an IJC office.



IJC briefs Parliament on threat of alien invasive species

On February 11, the IJC appeared before the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans of the Canadian House of Commons. Commissioners briefed the committee on the "biological and economic urgency" of the threat posed by alien aquatic invasive species that continue to enter the Great Lakes ecosystem.

One invader alone, the zebra mussel, has cost the economies of both the United and Canada an estimated $10 billion since its introduction into the Great Lakes 15 years ago. Invaders have also wreaked untold ecological damage, disrupting food webs and threatening biodiversity, creating the possibility of what some researchers call an "invasional meltdown."

In their briefing, the commissioners also detailed the three "doorways" to invasion:

  • The Front Door - the discharge of untreated ballast water or sludge brought in by foreign vessels and spread by intralake traffic;
  • The Side Door - the Chicago Canal that connects the Mississippi and Great Lakes basins; and
  • The Back Door - live fish markets, the sale of live bait and fish from aquariums and aquaculture.

In particular, the IJC presentation highlighted the threat posed by the Asian Carp - an "aquatic vacuum cleaner" that if allowed to make its way up the Chicago Canal and into Lake Michigan could potentially turn the Great Lakes into a carp pond and destroy a $4.5 billion fishery that supports 75,000 jobs.

To combat these alien invaders, the IJC made seven key recommendations, most importantly a call for a reference from the United States and Canadian governments to the IJC "to coordinate and harmonize binational efforts for action to stop this ongoing threat to the economy and the biological integrity of the Great Lakes."

In addition, the IJC recommended the following.  Canada and the United States must work together to harmonize and strengthen the rules of commerce  Science must drive decision-making  Our nations must support additional research - into ship design, risk assessment, rapid response and ballast water treatment technologies  We must provide for testing bench-scale technologies on full-scale boats  We must develop a decision support system to track ships in transit and to evaluate their risk of spreading invasive species  We need a workable ballast water treatment standard and the means to enforce it.

U.S. Section Chair Dennis Schornack concluded the IJC presentation, noting, "In 1978, Canada and the United States agreed to a standard calling for the zero discharge and virtual elimination of persistent toxic chemicals in the Great Lakes. Now, 25 years later, we must be guided by that same vision as we act to stop biological pollution that is just as persistent and just as dangerous as chemical contamination."

Full text of remarks by Chair Herb Gray, Chair Dennis Schornack and Commissioner Robert Gourd are available at www.ijc.org.



IJC to host 2003 Great Lakes Conference
and Biennial Meeting in September



Join the IJC September 19-20, 2003 on the campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor for two days of workshops and discussion on the most pressing issues facing the Great Lakes.

Check out our web site at www.ijc.org/rel/2003biennial/index.php for registration and the most up-to-date information about confirmed speakers, workshop and session agendas, meeting materials and other events as they are planned and scheduled between now and September.

Don't miss:

  • Inspiration and insight from the special RAP and LaMP pre-conference workshop on Thursday, September 18
  • Becoming smarter - workshops on nine critical issues facing the Great Lakes today
  • Restore the Greatness! Organizations from around the basin will discuss their plans for Great Lakes restoration
  • Reconnecting and networking with friends and interesting people from the Great Lakes community.

Mark your calendar and register today!



Celebrating the IJC's volunteer base

Dr. Gail Krantzberg, Director Great Lakes Regional Office

Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. -
Ralph Waldo Emerson

The year 2001 was the United Nations International Year of Volunteers. It is 2003 and we are still celebrating. Some of our readers may not fully understand how the International Joint Commission functions and the pivotal importance of its volunteer base. The Commission receives learned analysis and advice from its many volunteer boards, council and task forces (boards) in the execution of its responsibilities. The boards examine matters that the Commission identifies as priorities. Recommendations to the IJC emerge for government action and environmental science and policy is illuminated for public discussion. In the Great Lakes setting, the boards provide independent expertise to the Commission as it evaluates and advises the two federal governments on progress toward meeting their commitments under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. What distinguishes this advice from other sources of information is the high caliber of erudite analysis provided by the volunteers drawn from governments, academia, industry and other sectors.

This volunteer base easily exceeds 100 individuals for the binational work on the Great Lakes alone. There are also more than a 100 additional individuals participating in the 14 boards and various task forces on behalf of the IJC from coast to coast on both sides of our border. We credit the senior officials from organizations for which these board members work. Many of you truly understand the value gained by donating staff time to serve the Commission. The Commission holds its board members in highest regard. Board advice is authoritative and eminently respected. The expert research and dialogue on science and policy that are fostered by the boards take place in an atmosphere of scholarly debate, where the perspectives of a myriad of binational, national, regional and local authorities can be openly shared. Beyond the value to the Commission, such an environ enhances the knowledge base of the board members and adds to the intellectual capacity of the agency to which they report.



The Commission continues to seek ways to fully acknowledge the work of volunteers and to act, to the best of its ability, on the recommendations and advice received. A central element of the Commission's approach is to communicate its appreciation and respect for the volunteers broadly. We welcome this opportunity to voice our personal gratitude to all of you who have been working collectively towards the common goal of preventing and resolving disputes over the use of waters along the Canada-U.S. boundary. The energy expended by each board member in meetings, travel, teleconferences, writing, researching, coordinating and advising is immeasurable. Without you, we could not advise the governments and the public on progress under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement nor fulfill our other mandates. The Commissioners, secretaries and this director are committed to serve the boards needs and to facilitate progress. We call on all of the U.S.-Canada transboundary and Great Lakes communities to applaud your service and encourage your continued resolve for excellence.

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not. - Dr. Seuss



IJC advisors discuss Great Lakes emerging issues

In February, a small group of senior scientists, policy makers and IJC Commissioners met at the Wingspread Conference Center in Racine, Wisconsin for an expert consultation on Great Lakes emerging issues. The IJC's Great Lakes Science Advisory Board, in partnership with the Great Lakes Water Quality Board, the International Air Quality Board and the Council of Great Lakes Research Managers, co-hosted the meeting with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Environment Canada and the Johnson Foundation. The principle objectives of the expert consultation were to:

 scope issues of importance for the Great Lakes over the next 25 years  facilitate a binational, interdisciplinary discourse among senior scientists and policy makers  identify the most promising future opportunities for sustaining progress under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

One interesting outcome was that no new threats to the Great Lakes were suggested. Current problems, with some new variations, will likely continue to be threats in the future largely because they have not yet been adequately addressed. Such threats include chemical contaminants and their effects, excess nutrients, climate change, exotic species, changes to the biological community, shoreline development and suburban sprawl. While these topics are current issues, the aspects that make them significant for the future were the focus of discussion.

Not all emerging issues were of a scientific nature. Two institutional issues arose in several of the sessions: the need to coordinate Great Lakes management roles and responsibilities among all levels of government for better decision making and accountability, and the need for major reinvestment in scientific infrastructure to improve monitoring and support ecosystem forecasting. The discussions also seemed to return to a number of key questions, such as how do we make wise decisions with limited information, how do we use new technologies to 'get ahead of the curve' and how do we organize ourselves to deliver an ecosystem approach?

Findings and recommendations from the expert consultation on Great Lakes emerging issues will be included in the 2001-2003 Priorities and Progress under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement report, to be published this fall in advance of the IJC's Biennial Meeting to be held in Ann Arbor, Michigan on September 19-20, 2003. The proceedings, including scientific background papers, will also appear in the Journal of Great Lakes Research as a special topic section.



IJC reviews its Order for Duck Lake

The IJC opened a review of its Order of Approval for Duck Lake in February by inviting the public to comment on the issues the review should address. Duck Lake is a 4000 acre (1,619-hectare) project in British Columbia near the Idaho border at the upstream end of Kootenay Lake. It is isolated from Kootenay Lake by a system of IJC-approved dykes, dating back to 1949. The dykes around Duck Lake have the potential to raise water levels on the Kootenay River in the United States for certain rare floods, by about four or five inches (10-13 centimeters) at the international boundary and about half that amount at Bonners Ferry, Idaho. The likelihood of such rare floods has been further reduced by the construction of Duncan and Libby Dams upstream of Duck Lake.

The IJC's review was prompted by public concern over the effects of water levels management on bass, and a request has been made to transfer the management of Duck Lake water levels to local authorities. Given the public concerns, the 30-year period since the Order was last considered, and the reduced but continuing potential for transboundary effects, the Commission decided to review the Order for Duck Lake without prejudice to the end result.

After considering public comment, the IJC will identify any needed studies this summer, and initiating them if funding permits. Public meetings are anticipated in fall 2003 to invite further public comment, including on the process to date and on any available results or proposals.



IJC participates in Red River basin summit

In January, Commissioners Herb Gray, Dennis Schornack, Jack Blaney, Irene Brooks and Allen Olson attended the 20th Annual Red River Basin Land and Water International Summit Conference in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The conference, which was sponsored by the Red River Basin Commission, helps set the course for watershed management activities and draws key officials and stakeholders from throughout the Red River Basin. During his keynote address, Chair Gray highlighted the Commission's role in the Red River basin and encouraged basin organizations to continue their efforts to improve flood mitigation.

The Commission sponsored a working discussion among key staff from Manitoba, North Dakota, and Minnesota, along with members of the Commission's International Red River Board. Participants discussed approaches for developing a binational comprehensive plan for flood mitigation on a watershed basis, as called for in the Commission's 2000 report Living with the Red. The International Red River Board will be reporting this summer on actions taken by governments at all levels to address all the recommendations in Living with the Red, and its report is expected to be useful to in-basin efforts to develop a framework for a comprehensive plan for flood mitigation.



Special Recognition

Dr. Anders Andren is a professor in the Civil and Environmental and Water Chemistry Program at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He was appointed to the IJC's Great Lakes Science Advisory Board (GLSAB) in 1987 and served through 2002. During his appointment, Dr. Andren actively participated in the writing of eight annual and biennial GLSAB reports, and served as the U.S. co-chair of the Virtual Elimination Task Force from 1990 - 1993. His length of service to the GLSAB is the longest of anyone having served this board.

Dr. Andren is recognized for his commitment to science and long standing contribution in promoting the development of greater knowledge and understanding of the Great Lakes, as a basis for restoring and maintaining the integrity of the waters and for fulfilling the purpose of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

While stepping down from active GLSAB membership, he will continue to participate as a member of its Work Group on Emerging Issues, and work closely with the Council of Great Lakes Research Managers in further developing his idea of a "Great Lakes Integrated Observation and Monitoring System." Such a system would greatly strengthen the role of science in policy and management decision making.

Mr. Kelly Burch was an active a member of the IJC's Great Lakes Water Quality Board from 1996 through 2002. During his tenure, Mr. Burch served as the Water Quality Board lead on the Indicators Implementation Task Force, Lake Erie Modeling Project, Sediment Priority Action Committee, Annex 2 Task Force and others.

In his capacity as Regional Director for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Mr. Burch was instrumental in the development of a Remedial Action Plan for Presque Isle Bay, now redesignated as an Area of Concern in Recovery Stage, and served as chair of its Public Advisory Committee. He was involved with development of Lake Erie Lakewide Management Plan, a crucial component of Annex 2 of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

On December 23rd, 2002, Dr. Murray Clamen, secretary of the Canadian Section of the International Joint Commission, received the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal. This honor is awarded to those persons who have made a significant contribution to Canada, their community or their fellow Canadians. Dr. Clamen was nominated for an exemplary 25-year career within the Canadian Federal Government.



What's Happening

June 16, 2003
Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Study Board-PIAG public meeting, St. Catharines, ON

June 19, 2003
International St. Lawrence River Board of Control public meeting, Dorval, Quebec

June 19, 2003
Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Study Board-PIAG public meeting, Wilson, NY

June 26, 2003
International Lake Superior Board of Control public meeting, Sault Ste. Marie, ON

July 17, 2003
International Red River Board public meeting, Emerson, MB

August 20, 2003
International St. Croix River Board of Control public meeting, Calais, ME

September 19-20
Biennial Meeting on Great Lakes Water Quality, Ann Arbor, MI



People

IJC welcomes the following recent appointments to its boards .

Dr. Jan Ciborfowski
Professor of Biology
University of Windsor
Council of Great Lakes Research Managers
Dr. Robert Andrews
Head of Drinking Water Research
Dept. of Civil Engineering
University of Toronto
Council of Great Lakes Research Managers

Dr. Alex Bielak
Head of Science Liaison Branch
National Water Research Institute
Environment Canada
Council of Great Lakes Research Managers
Joel Weiner
Regional Director General
Ontario and Nunavut Region
Health Canada
Great Lakes Water Quality Board
Adel Shalaby
Regional Director
Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety
Health Canada
Great Lakes Water Quality Board
Peter Thompson
Regional Director
Policy Central and Arctic Region
Canada Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans
Great Lakes Water Quality Board
Lori Boughton
Chief, Office of the Great Lakes
Pennsylvania Dept. of Environ. Protection
Great Lakes Water Quality Board
Dr. Judith Perlinger
Civil and Environmental Engineering Dept.
Michigan Technological University
Great Lakes Science Advisory Board
Dr. Joan Rose
College of Agriculture

Michigan State University
Great Lakes Science Advisory Board
Dan Barletta
U.S. Co-Chair
Lake Ontario -St. Lawrence River Study Board -
Public Interest Advisory Group
Paul Finnegan
Lake Ontario -St. Lawrence River Study Board -
Public Interest Advisory Group
Dr. Leon M. Carl
Director
U.S. Geological Survey
Great Lakes Science Center
Council of Great Lakes Research Managers
Carr McLeod
Environment Canada
Canadian Co-Chair, INBC

International Lake Superior Board of Control

International Niagara Board of Control

Susan Humphrey
Environment Canada
Annex 2 Task Force
Don Porteous
New England Regional Laboratory
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. Co-Chair, ISCRB
International St. Croix River Board
Bill Appleby
Director
Atmospheric Environment Branch
Environment Canada
Canadian Co-Chair, ISCRB
International St. Croix River Board
Joan Trial
Senior Biologist
Maine Atlantic Salmon Commission
International St. Croix River Board

We espress our gratitude to those who contributed their time and talent in serving on the IJC's boards to assist Canada and the United States with managing transboundary environmental issues.
David Ladd
Former Director
Office of the Great Lakes
Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality
Great Lakes Water Quality Board
Colonel Mark A. Roncoli
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
International Lake Superior Board of Control

International Niagara Board of Control
International St. Lawrence River Board of Control

Dr. Nancy milton
Former Director
U.S. Geological Survey
Great Lakes Science Center
Council of Great Lakes Research Managers
Colonel Ralph Graves
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

International Kootenay Lake Board of Control

International Osoyoos Lake Board of Control




Hot Off the Press

New! The Status of Restoration Activities in the Great Lakes Areas of Concern: A Special Report evaluates RAP implementation and progress across the Great Lakes basin. The report is available on the Internet at www.ijc.org, on CD with the Eleventh Biennial Report on Great Lakes Water Quality or in hard copy by contacting any IJC office.

The IJC's Eleventh Biennial Report on Great Lakes Water Quality , assessing progress of the U.S. and Canada to restore and maintain the Great Lakes is available on the Internet at http://www.ijc.org/php/publications/html/11br/english/report/index.html or can be obtained on CD or in hard copy by contacting any IJC office.

Now available: International Joint Commission, Watching Over Our Transboundary Environment from Coast to Coast. A brochure highlighting the responsibilities of the IJC. Available in French and English. Multiple copies are available from any IJC office.

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.

Now available: IJC Activities Map. A map of the U.S./Canadian border highlighting all IJC activities in watersheds from coast to coast. Available in French and English. Multiple copies are available from any IJC office.



Contact Us

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


       
  Dennis L. Schornack
U.S. Section Chair

Irene Brooks

Allen Olson

Rt. Hon. Herb Gray
Canadian Section Chair

Robert Gourd

Jack Blaney

 
       


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.