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May 6, 2010

IJC posts letters regarding the scope of the International Upper Great Lakes Study

On November 9, 2009, the International Joint Commission wrote to the governments of Canada and the United States requesting their consideration to modify the scope of work of the International Upper Great Lakes Study Board (the Study Board) to include an evaluation of possible climate change scenarios, their potential impacts on water levels in lakes Michigan and Huron, and possible mitigative measure to address those impacts.

In letters dated April 5, 2010, the Governments agreed that the Study Board should examine the impacts of climate change on water levels and also recommended the consideration of other modifications. The Commission has asked the Study Board to analyze the feasibility of undertaking these modified considerations.

The International Upper Great Lakes Study Board concluded the first phase of its study with the release of the report on the St. Clair River on December 15, 2009. The report examines the physical changes in the St. Clair River since 1962 and recommends that measures to remediate the increased conveyance, or water-carrying capacity, of the river not be undertaken at this time. The study also recommends that mitigation measures in the St. Clair River be examined as part of the comprehensive assessment of the future effects of climate change in the second phase of the study.

The second phase of the study will continue to examine whether the IJC Order of Approval and plan for regulating Lake Superior outflows should be modified to address the evolving needs of users on Lakes Superior, Huron, Michigan and Erie and the changing climate. The final report of the Study Board on the entire study is expected to be completed and submitted to the IJC by early 2012.

Funded equally by the U.S. and Canadian governments, the study is being conducted by the binational, independent International Upper Great Lakes Study Board at the request of the IJC under the authority of the Boundary Waters Treaty.


Ottawa Bernard Beckhoff (613) 947-1420
Washington Frank Bevacqua (202) 736-9024

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