International Joint Commission
Summer 2005
Volume 30, Issue 2

Credit: Queen's University (top); Pukasi/Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce (centre); Kingston Chamber of Commerce (bottom left); Stefan Bruda (bottom right).

Make Big Plans!

by The Rt. Hon. Herb Gray and Hon. Dennis Schornack, IJC co-chairs

The 2005 Great Lakes Conference and Biennial Meeting is being held during a time of intense activity and excitement regarding the future of this amazing ecosystem shared by Canada and the United States. When we gather in Kingston, Ontario, June 9 to 11, the issues we discuss will have an impact on policies and programs on both sides of the border. The Kingston Biennial will give the public and policy makers the chance to discuss cutting edge research, learn about the key developments and evaluate the latest proposals for Great Lakes restoration.

On the U.S. side of the border, President Bush’s budget for 2006 calls for spending $50 million to clean up Areas of Concern through the Great Lakes Legacy Act, double the amount to be spent this year. In addition, legislation coordinating federal programs and authorizing major new expenditures on Great Lakes restoration has been introduced in the U.S. Congress. On the legal front, a major court decision now requires the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate ballast water discharges under the Clean Water Act. In addition, the work of the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration has accelerated with release of a draft Great Lakes Strategy expected this summer.

In Canada, the federal budget proposes renewing its Great Lakes Programme for another $40 million over the next five years. It has also allocated $85 million over the next five years to fight Alien Invasive Species of all kinds, plants, insects and animals, not just aquatic ones. It’s not clear at this time how much will be allocated for aquatic species nationally and in particular in the Great Lakes. However, it is known that $10 million of that will go to the sea lamprey control programme in the Great Lakes.

All of this activity around the Great Lakes will serve to inform and improve the process of reviewing the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. At our Kingston Biennial, the public will have the opportunity to provide their views on how the review should be conducted. By attending the workshops, participating in breakout sessions, and speaking up at plenary meetings, citizens from around the Great Lakes will assist in writing the next chapter in the history of the world’s most precious freshwater ecosystem. Make big plans, join us and be a part of that history.

Dear 2005 IJC Biennial Meeting Participants:

On behalf of the City of Kingston, it will be my pleasure to welcome you to Canada’s First Capital in June.

I hope you’ll feel at home here in our exciting city at the triple-intersection of the St. Lawrence and Cataraqui rivers and Lake Ontario. Water is an important part of our city and heritage. As I’m sure all participants will agree, we must do all we can to enhance and protect our natural resources, namely, our Great Lakes.

I am pleased that the IJC Great Lakes Conference and Biennial Meeting, focused on the governments’ review of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, will bring you to Kingston. Outside of your schedule, I hope you’ll enjoy our old-world charm. Our pleasant and varied climate is attracting more and more people to our area to enjoy our pristine waterfront, experience our rich heritage and to participate in a wide variety of cultural activities and sporting events. Our downtown is filled with a diverse selection of fine restaurants, excellent shopping and historic sites to explore while you visit our proud city.

For more information on Kingston, I encourage you to call our Tourist Information Office, toll free at 1.888.855.4555 or visit the city website at I look forward to seeing you soon and working toward a great future for our Great Lakes!

Yours truly,
Harvey Rosen,

Go to for detailed agendas and speakers.

2005 Great Lakes Conference


(Requires a $100 registration fee.)

8:00 a.m.

Registration and Continental Breakfast

9am - 4pm

All day workshop. LaMPs and RAPs: Enhancing Decision-Making to Achieve Environmental Benefits

9:00 a.m.

Concurrent half-day Workshops:
· Land Use and Sustainable Cities
· Pathogen Risks
· An Ecosystem Approach to Mercury



1:00 p.m.

Concurrent half-day Workshops:
· New Chemical Risks?
· Halting the Introduction of Alien Aquatic Species
· Understanding Ecosystem Integrity

5:30 p.m.

Dr. David Schindler, Keynote Address

7:00 p.m.


LaMPs and RAPs: Enhancing Decision-Making to Achieve Environmental Benefits

This workshop on LaMPs and RAPs will encourage sharing and discussion of restoration, protection, and decision-making activities underway in the basin. Diverse showcases and discussions will further enhance our collective understanding of the necessary actions to reduce the threat posed by contaminated sediment runoff. The government review of the Agreement and the future of Annex 2 will also be discussed.

Land Use and Sustainable Cities

Urban development in the Great Lakes basin and consequential changes to the water cycle are putting pressure on the ecosystem and degrading surface and ground water quality. As a result, the application of new principles, practices and technologies to address the challenges of urban land and water management may be required. Presentations by and interactive dialogue with leading authorities will focus on the development of policy advice to mitigate the impact of urban land use on water resources in the Great Lakes region.

Pathogen Risks

Great Lakes beach closures and other human health threats caused by combined sewer overflows, sanitary sewer overflows or malfunctioning septic tanks make headlines on a regular basis. This workshop will explore the sources of E.coli and other pathogens that may adversely affect human health in the Great Lakes basin and examine efforts to protect sources of drinking water. Participants will engage in dialogue with experts and each other on the issues of pathogens and possible actions to address this problem.

An Ecosystem Approach to Mercury

The presence of mercury in humans, largely from consumption of contaminated fish, is the crucial factor driving further emission reduction efforts in both the United States and Canada. The International Air Quality Advisory Board in conjunction with agency experts are investigating the feasibility of developing and running a model that can estimate the transfer of mercury from emission sources, through deposition and uptake by biota, to humans. Exchanges among scientists at this technical workshop will provide guidance in the development of a functional multi-compartment model to link emissions of mercury through their deposition and partitioning to ultimate presence in selected human subpopulations.

Great Lakes fish restoration. Credit: U.S.F.W.S.

New Chemical Risks?

The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement calls for the two federal governments to keep lists of substances known to have or potentially having toxic effects on aquatic and animal life and a risk of being discharged to the Great Lakes basin. These lists are to be continually revised in light of new scientific knowledge. This workshop will explore the concentrations of various “new chemicals,” such as persistent toxic substances, pharmaceuticals and other chemicals found in person care products.

Halting the Introduction of Alien Aquatic Species

Efforts to keep new aquatic alien invasive species (AIS) out of the Great Lakes are being made on many fronts. The need for action by the federal governments to deal with AIS this threat is well recognized. As these species pose a very serious threat to Great Lakes biodiversity, participants will consider how this matter could be dealt with during the governments’ review of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

Understanding Ecosystem Integrity

The current Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement addresses many aspects of chemical integrity, but only superficially addresses the importance of physical and biological integrity to the ecosystem. There is growing recognition that achieving full ecosystem integrity in the Great Lakes will require interdisciplinary research and monitoring, adaptive resource management, and innovative policies to address chemical, physical and biological integrity as parts of the whole. This workshop will encourage discussion among participants about the complex interactions occurring in the Great Lakes and their implications for addressing ecological integrity.

Dr. David Schindler
Thursday, June 9, 5:30 p.m.

Dr. David Schindler

The IJC is proud to present Dr. David Schindler, who will present a keynote address which is open to the public. A widely known fresh water ecologist, Dr. Schindler is a professor of Ecology at the University of Alberta and founder of the Experimental Lakes Project in Canada. As recipient of numerous national and international research awards, his work has been widely used in advising ecologically sound management policy in Canada, the United States and Europe.

2005 Biennial Meeting


(These events are free and open to the public. Pre-registration is encouraged.)

9:00 a.m.

Opening Ceremony

9:30 a.m.

Advice from the Water Quality Board, Science Advisory Board, Council of Great Lakes Research Managers and International Air Quality Advisory Board on the review of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement

11:00 a.m.

Role of the IJC in the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement

12:30 p.m.

Lunch and public meeting of the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Study

2:00 p.m.

Concurrent Breakout Discussions: presentations of papers submitted by meeting attendees
· Adaptive management and the Future of the Agreement
· Vision of Great Lakes Integrity
· Institutional Arrangements and Governance

4:00 p.m.


5:30 p.m.

Dr. David Suzuki, Keynote Address

7:00 p.m.

A Great Lakes Gathering

Role of the IJC in the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement Friday, June 10, 11:00 a.m.

One major role of the IJC is to assess progress and assist the U.S. and Canadian governments with implementation of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. On Friday, a panel of experts on Agreement issues, including former IJC and government personnel and outside observers, will examine aspects of this role that the governments may wish to consider as they look toward revising the Agreement.

Panelists will provide forward-looking views on the role of the IJC in areas such as how could the IJC more effectively use its boards, council and Great Lakes Regional Office to fulfill its role under the Agreement. The Commission looks forward to a lively discussion among the panelists and members of the audience.

The Nature of Things
Dr. David Suzuki

Friday, June 10, 5:30 p.m.

Dr. David Suzuki

Join the IJC in welcoming Dr. David Suzuki to the IJC Biennial Meeting. Dr. Suzuki, chair of the David Suzuki Foundation is an award-winning scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster. He has spent more than 30 years explaining the complexities of science to millions as the host of his popular science television series, the Nature of Things. Dr. Suzuki will take questions from the audience following his remarks.

A Great Lakes Gathering

Come one, come all to this evening reception for all attendees, following the keynote address by Dr. David Suzuki, on Friday night, June 10 at 7 p.m. in the Atrium of the Biosciences Complex. Listen to great music provided by the live band The Great Lake Swimmers and visit with old friends and acquaintances from across the Great Lakes basin.

The Great Lake Swimmers. Credit: Ronit Novak
Visit the group website at:

2005 Biennial Meeting


(These events are free and open to the public. Pre-registration is encouraged.)

8:00 a.m.

The Status and Future of Government Activities in the Great Lakes. Confirmed speakers include:
· Stephane Dion, Canada’s Minister of the Environment
· Leona Dombrowsky, Ontario Minister of the Environment

10:30 a.m.

Concurrent Breakout Discussions: presentations of papers submitted by meeting attendees
· Adaptive Management and the Future of the Agreement
· Vision of Great Lakes Integrity
· Institutional Arrangements and Governance

12:30 p.m.

Lunch and Presentation of the Biennial Award for Great Lakes Science

2:00 p.m.

Public Testimony

5:00 p.m.


The Status and Future of Government Activities in the Great Lakes
Saturday, June 11, 8:00 a.m.

The IJC welcomes the Honourable Stéphane Dion, Minister of Environment for Canada; the Honourable Leona Dombrowsky, Minister of Environment for Ontario; invited dignitaries from the United States; and senior government officials from both countries. This high powered panel will discuss current developments and environmental initiatives that relate to our Great Lakes basin ecosystem. What have the governments accomplished over the past two years with respect to their commitments under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement? What might current and anticipated developments on both sides of the border contribute to enhancing the environmental integrity of our shared majestic waters? This is sure to be a stimulating event. Bring your questions!

Leona Dombrowsky

Stéphane Dion

Breakout discussions regarding the future of the Great Lakes and the Agreement

Do you have a particular view or something to say that fits into one of the three broad categories of Adaptive Management and the Future of the Agreement, Vision of Great Lakes Integrity or Institutional Arrangements and Governance? These sessions on Friday and Saturday are all about you! Go to the website and submit an abstract on your thoughts today.

  Credit: Yefei He

We are separate countries today - separate and distinct - because of a geological phenomenon that once changed the nature of our northern world. In various subtle ways we cannot always comprehend, we are what we are because of the overpowering presence of the largest single source of sweet water on the globe.

-- Canadian historian Pierre Berton

Hot off the press

  • Report on Missisquoi Bay. Transboundary impacts of the Missisquoi Bay Causeway and the Missisquoi Bay Bridge Project is the topic of the IJC’s final report on issues related to pollution of Missisquoi Bay on Lake Champlain. Drawing on the work of its task force, whose findings are included in an appendix, the IJC recommends removal of the causeway and increased investments to reduce phosphorous inputs. The report is available from the Washington and Ottawa IJC offices, or online at:

  • 2004 IJC Annual Report. Read this complete summary of all IJC activities on our transboundary environment from coast to coast.

  • Stay in the loop!. The fastest way to receive updates about new IJC reports, news and our newsletter, FOCUS, is by email. To register, send a request to

  • Twelfth Biennial Report on Great Lakes Water Quality. In this most recent Great Lakes report to the governments of the U.S. and Canada, the IJC highlights key issues for all that live in the Great Lakes region, and makes specific recommendations relating to the effects of urbanization on our lakes; threats associated with alien aquatic invasive species; pathogens and disease bearing microorganisms in drinking water sources; chemical contamination, methyl mercury and human health; and the recent ecological changes taking place in Lake Erie. Obtain a copy from an IJC office or online at

  • Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. While not new, this is definitely hot! The upcoming review of the Agreement by the governments of the United States and Canada makes this historic document timely. Obtain a copy from an IJC office, or online at under the “who we are” tab.

Contact Us

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

  United States
  Great Lakes
Regional Office

Contacts   Murray Clamen
Paula Fedeski-Koundakjian
Public Affairs
  Lisa Bourget
Frank Bevacqua
Public Affairs
  Dr. Gail Krantzberg
Jennifer Day
Public Affairs


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
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

Home Page


  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.