Release date: November 30th, 1999

IJC issues draft Supplementary Order
for Rainy and Namakan Lakes

The International Joint Commission (IJC) today made known its intention to issue a Supplementary Order for Rainy and Namakan Lakes water levels and outflows. This Supplementary Order will come into force on January 6, 2000, if no new and compelling concerns are raised prior to that date.

In November of 1994, the IJC held a public hearing to seek public views on the adequacy of its existing Order in light of changes proposed by the Rainy Lake and Namakan Reservoir International Steering Committee. After considering the concerns raised, the IJC asked its International Rainy Lake Board of Control (IRLBC) to review the 1970 Orders for Rainy and Namakan Lakes. A Plan of Study for the review of the Orders was adopted by the IJC in February 1996 and the review began shortly thereafter.

In April 1999, the IRLBC released its Draft Final Report that assessed the proposed rule curve changes on Rainy and Namakan Lakes and the impacts on the downstream areas, and presented the Board's draft conclusions and recommendations. Comments were received at the Commission's Public Hearing in Fort Frances on July 7, 1999 and in writing.

On October 26th, 1999, the International Rainy Lake Board of Control presented its final report to the IJC. Among other things, it recommended:

  • The adoption of essentially the International Steering Committee rule curves, but with a wider band during the spring refill period for Namakan Lake;
  • The adoption of essentially the existing International Joint Commission 1970 rule curves, but with a slightly wider band during the spring refill period and with a modest amount of drawdown in the late summer and fall period for Rainy Lake;
  • The requirement, for dam owners, to operate so as to normally target for levels in the middle of the rule curve band, subject to other instructions periodically by the IRLBC to target elsewhere within the band.

The IJC accepted these recommendations and incorporated them into its draft Supplementary Order. Since these recommendations differ from those in the Draft Final Report, the IJC has extended the comment period and invites all interested persons and organizations to submit written comment to be received no later than January 4, 2000 to either of the following addresses:

Secretary, Canadian Section
234 Laurier Avenue West
22nd floor
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 6K6
Fax 613.993.5583
Secretary, United States Section
1250 23rd Street NW
Suite 100
Washington, DC 20440
Fax 202.736.9015

For more information, including the IJC draft Supplementary Order, the IRLBC final report, and a newsletter summarizing the IRLBC's recommendations, visit on the World Wide Web. Copies of the documents are also available upon request at the addresses above.

The International Joint Commission was created under the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 to help prevent and resolve disputes over the use of waters along the Canada-United States boundary. Under the Rainy Lake Convention of 1938, the Commission also sets the outflow from Rainy and Namakan Lakes to prevent them from reaching emergency high and low water conditions.

Frank Bevacqua Washington, D.C. (202) 736-9024
Fabien Lengellé Ottawa, Ontario (613) 995-0088
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