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November 12, 2010

Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Working Group holds fifth meeting

The Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Working Group held its fifth meeting in Washington, DC on November 8 and 9, 2010.

At the meeting, the Working Group discussed the elements of a potential new approach for managing water levels and flows in the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River system. The proposal would modify the current approach in order to achieve environmental and other improvements for the overall benefit of the basin and take into account comments over the past several years from stakeholders across the system. Among other things, the potential new approach could include: a new Order of Approval providing a framework for regulation; a new regulation plan; an adaptive management strategy to monitor and assess conditions and refine the plan as needed, including adjustments for significant climatic changes; revisions to the structure and operations of the control board; and beneficial management practices to enhance the overall benefits from this approach. The Working Group will meet again in February 2011 in Ottawa, Ontario.

The Working Group is an ad hoc group made up of senior representatives of the federal governments of Canada and the United States, the governments of Quebec, Ontario and New York, and the International Joint Commission (IJC). Its purpose is to provide advice to the Commission on the future regulation of water levels and flows in the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River system.

The IJC approved the construction and operations of the Moses-Saunders Dam, located at Massena, New York and Cornwall, Ontario under the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909. Regulation of the flow of water through the dam affects levels and flows on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River downstream to Trois-Rivières, Quebec. The IJC has been working to find an approach to regulating levels and flows that takes all interests - environmental, social and economic - into account. The IJC will consider the Working Group's advice, and will seek public comment and the concurrence of the two federal governments on any proposal to change the current approach to regulation.

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.


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

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