February 18, 2003

IJC announces review of Duck Lake Order and invites comment


The International Joint Commission (IJC) is beginning a review of its Order of Approval governing Duck Lake and invites public comment through May 18, 2003. Comments will help the Commission identify issues and determine the scope of the needed review.


The IJC approved the construction of dykes encompassing and within Duck Lake and charged the International Kootenay Lake Board of Control with overseeing the Orders on behalf of the Commission. The dykes encompassing Duck Lake have the potential to increase water levels on the Kootenay River in the United States for certain rare floods, by about 4 or 5 inches (10-13 centimeters) at the international boundary and about half that amount at Bonners Ferry. The likelihood of such rare floods has been further reduced by Duncan and Libby Dams. The Creston Valley Wildlife Management Authority operates gates and pumps that affect water levels within Duck Lake in accordance with the IJC's 1950 Order of Approval, as amended in 1956 and 1970.


Public concern has been raised 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.


Public comment will be an important and integral part of the overall process, and will help shape the scope of the work undertaken. The ultimate length of the review process will depend in large part on the determined scope and the available resources to address that scope. After considering comments received by May 20, 2003, the IJC anticipates identifying any needed studies this summer, and initiating them if funding permits. Public meetings are anticipated this fall to invite further public comment, including on the process to date and on any available results or proposals.


Public comment is invited and should be received by one of the IJC Secretaries by Tuesday, May 20, 2003:


Gerald Galloway

Secretary, U.S. Section

1250 23 rd Street N.W., Suite 100

Washington, DC 20440

Fax: (202) 467-0746



Murray Clamen

Secretary, Canadian Section

234 Laurier Avenue West , 22 nd Floor

Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5M1

Fax: (613) 993-5583



A document is available at that provides further information on Duck Lake and the review of the Order.


The International Joint Commission is an international organization established by the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 to prevent and resolve disputes over the use of waters shared by the United States and Canada. Its responsibilities include approving certain projects in one country that would increase the natural water levels in the other country, such as the dykes encompassing Duck Lake along the Kootenay River. If it approves the project, the IJC's Orders of Approval may specify certain conditions to protect the interests in both countries. For more information on the IJC, please visit



            Frank Bevacqua, Washington, D.C. (202) 736-9024

            Fabien Lengellé, Ottawa, ON          (613) 995-0088

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