May 17, 2005

Make Big Plans…to Attend the IJC's Great Lakes Conference and Biennial Meeting

The International Joint Commission (IJC) is calling on the public to help shape the review of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement at its 2005 Great Lakes Conference and Biennial Meeting. The meeting will be held on the campus of Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, on June 9-11, 2005.

First signed in 1972, the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement was last amended in 1987 but has not been updated or changed since. New threats to the well-being of the Great Lakes ecosystem are becoming better defined. The public's views on the future of the Agreement are needed to ensure that the agreement continues to guide the governments' clean-up and protection of the Great Lakes.

With the theme, "Make Big Plans," the event brings together experts and citizens from the Great Lakes basin community to examine the effectiveness of binational initiatives to restore the waters of the Great Lakes Basin ecosystem. Of note, the meeting is expected to coincide with the launch of the review of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) by the governments of the U.S. and Canada.

"Champlain called these lakes the 'sweet water seas,'" Canadian Chair of the IJC, Herb Gray notes. "It is our responsibility to do what we can to make them 'sweet water seas' once again for our children and grandchildren. We urge everyone in the Great Lakes basin to join the discussions in Kingston."

"The Great Lakes are the cultural, ecological and economic lifeblood of the heartland of both the United States and Canada," said U.S. Chair Dennis Schornack. "Restoring their resiliency requires effective governance, state-of-the-art science and cutting-edge monitoring tools-all topics of discussion at this important meeting."

The Honourable Stéphane Dion, Canadian Minister of the Environment, will share the podium with The Honourable Leona Dombrowsky, Ontario Minister of the Environment, and U.S. counterparts (to be announced) in this important discussion.

Keynote speakers at the conference are Dr. David Schindler, one of North America's most respected and honored freshwater ecologists, and Dr. David Suzuki, scientist, author and host of the well-known television program The Nature of Things.

The three-day conference and public meeting includes workshops, breakout sessions and specific in-depth discussions on a wide range of topics fundamental to the review of the Agreement and its future. On a lighter note, an evening reception will feature the critically-acclaimed musical act, the Great Lakes Swimmers.

Thursday's workshops, which will feature the latest scientific research on topics ranging from aquatic invasive species to sustainable land use, require a registration fee; however, registration for the Friday and Saturday sessions is free. Special admission is provided for the media. All participants are requested to register online at

For more information, visit (2005 Great Lakes Conference and Biennial Meeting) or

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.


Ottawa Paula Fedeski-Koundakjian (613) 995-0088
Washington Frank Bevacqua (202) 736-9024


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