IJC Commissioners Meet with Governments Regarding Transboundary Water Pollution in the Elk-Kootenai/y Watershed


The International Joint Commission (IJC) recently conducted meetings with senior officials from the Governments of Canada, the United States, the Ktunaxa Nation, British Columbia, Idaho, and Montana to gather initial perspectives on the Reference to Address Transboundary Water Pollution in the Elk-Kootenai/y Watershed.   

These meetings represented a first step to assist the six governments in the development of Terms of Reference in the establishment of a Governance Body, consistent with the proposal dated 8 March 2024 developed by the Governments of Canada and the United States in partnership with the Ktunaxa Nation.  

The Governance Body will serve as the governments’ collaborative forum intended to, among other elements, develop and report on an action plan to reduce and mitigate the impacts of water pollution in the Kootenai/y watershed to protect this vital river system.  

Separately the IJC is also working on another aspect of the March 8 reference: the establishment of an IJC study board. The study board will be established during the summer of 2024, with a mandate to conduct transparent and coordinated transboundary data and knowledge sharing, conduct and synthesize data on the topic of water pollution in the watershed, and report and make recommendations on a number of issues identified in the proposal 

The IJC intends to host a virtual information session for all interested parties in the Elk-Kootenai/y basin in the coming weeks. The purpose of this meeting will be to provide a brief description of the IJC and to facilitate interested organizations and members of the public to provide input and perspectives on the topic of transboundary water pollution in the basin. Further details to follow; in the meantime we welcome you to sign up for updates 

We also encourage interested parties to follow us on social media and to visit to visit this website, www.ijc.org/elk to gather the latest information and locate resources related to this study. Questions and comments can be submitted to elk@ijc.org. 


Quick Facts 

  • The Elk River rises in the Canadian Rockies and flows into the United States at Lake Koocanusa (also known as Koocanusa Reservoir), an impoundment of the Kootenay/Kootenai River. It then flows through the states of Montana and Idaho, and through transboundary Ktunaxa lands, on its way back to the province of British Columbia, where it empties into the Columbia River. 
  • The Commission received the Reference regarding transboundary water pollution in the Elk-Kootenai/y watershed from the governments in March 2024. 



Edward Virden           Washington     202-372-7990             Edward.Virden@ijc.org 

Paul Allen                   Ottawa             613-222-1475              Paul.Allen@ijc.org