International Joint Commission
United States and Canada

For Release: December 1, 2004

IJC announces intent to establish Task Force on
St. Mary and Milk Rivers

The International Joint Commission (IJC) announced today that it intends to establish a St. Mary and Milk Rivers Administrative Measures Task Force to examine whether the existing administrative procedures in its 1921 Order under which water is apportioned between Southern Saskatchewan, Southern Alberta and Northern Montana for irrigation purposes can be improved to ensure more beneficial use and optimal receipt by each country of its apportioned waters within the terms of the Order that was issued by the Commission in 1921.

The St. Mary River flows north from Montana into Alberta and the Milk River criss-crosses the Canada-U.S. border between Montana, Southern Alberta and Saskatchewan.

The IJC decided to establish a task force after meeting with the Field Representatives of the Canadian and U.S. Accredited Officers in October, and considering the views presented to the Commissioners at their public consultation meetings last summer and in writing. The IJC held [these] meetings and toured irrigation works and water structures the last week of July in Montana, Saskatchewan and Alberta to hear comments in response to a request by the Governor of Montana that the IJC review its 1921 Order. Over 100 written submissions were received by the IJC and they are all available on the Commission's website.

The IJC was established under the Boundary Waters Treaty (1909) to help prevent and resolve disputes over the use of waters shared by the United States and Canada. Under Article VI of the treaty, Accredited Officers appointed by the two countries measure and apportion the waters of the St. Mary and Milk rivers in accordance with the IJC's order. More information is available online at

The directive to the Task Force and background information on St. Mary and Milk Rivers is attached.


Nick Heisler Ottawa (613) 992-8367
Frank Bevacqua Washington (202) 736-9024
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