August 4, 2010
IJC approves temporary gate closure for St. Marys River Compensating Works
The International Joint Commission (IJC) today issued a Supplementary Order of Approval suspending the requirement for minimum flows through gate number 1 of the St. Marys River Compensating Works. The requirement, established for fisheries habitat management, will be suspended from August 1, 2010 until September 15, 2010. The Supplementary Order requires the gate to be closed for less than one day at any one time during this period.
The action by the IJC responds to a request from Brookfield Renewable Power, Inc., operator of the hydroelectric power plant in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, to stop flows through gate number 1 in order to facilitate the completion of refurbishment of the Canadian portion of the St. Marys River Compensating Works. The Compensating Works are inspected every five years and repairs would complete a refurbishment program of gates number 1 through 8 for the continued safe and reliable operations of the flow control gates.
The IJC Supplementary Order also requires that a gate opening and closing protocol approved by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment, and the Batchewana First Nations of Ojibways be followed to minimize adverse impacts on the fishery.
Under the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909, the International Joint Commission approves certain projects that affect natural water levels and flows of boundary waters such as the St. Marys River. The IJC issued an Order of Approval in 1914 for the construction of the St. Marys Compensating Works and the regulation of Lake Superior outflows for power production. The IJC retains jurisdiction over the regulation of Lake Superior outflows and has issued various orders over the years. The International Lake Superior Board of Control was established by the IJC to assist with overseeing the implementation of these orders.
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.