Over the past century pursuant to the Boundary Waters Treaty the International Joint Commission (IJC) has approved the construction and operation of structures that affect levels and flows at Sault Ste. Marie on the St. Marys River, at Niagara Falls on the Niagara River and at Cornwall/Massena on the St. Lawrence River. In the case of the St. Marys River and the St. Lawrence River, flows through these structures are managed according to regulation plans that specify the amount of water to be released under a range of conditions. In the case of the Niagara River, the IJC monitors the maintenance and operation of the Chippawa-Grass Island Pool control structure to meet the scenic beauty requirements of the 1950 Niagara River Diversions Treaty. Three international boards of control (Lake Superior, Niagara and St. Lawrence River) monitor compliance by the owners and operators of the structures with the operational requirements as set out in the Orders of Approval and Directives for the construction and operation of the structures.
Consistent with these responsibilities, the Lake Superior and St. Lawrence River boards of control have periodically studied new regulation plans in an attempt to better meet the criteria in the Orders of Approval or to provide additional benefits to affected interests. Information on regulation plan impacts is important to support the evaluation process. Short-term study boards have been used in the past to consider improvements to the current regulation plans. The Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Study (2000-2006) reviewed regulation of levels and flows in the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River system and the International Upper Great Lakes Study (2007-2012) reviewed conditions in the Upper Great Lakes and the regulation plan for the outflows of Lake Superior. The IJC seeks to make the information and knowledge gained during these studies available to the Lake Superior and St. Lawrence River boards of control in their on-going review and evaluation of regulation plans as called for in the Orders of Approval. The IJC seeks to have this information provided to the International Niagara Board of Control since it is expected to also be of use in its ongoing oversight of the management of Niagara River flows and levels.
To aid in this effort a Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River Adaptive Management (GLAM) Committee is established by this directive to report to the three Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River boards of control (Superior, Niagara and St. Lawrence). The GLAM Committee is to undertake the monitoring, modeling and assessment related to the on-going evaluation of the regulation plans and address other questions that may arise due to changing conditions in consultation with the Boards.
Additionally, per Article 7(1)(i) of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, as amended in September of 2012, the Commission is tasked with ensuring liaison and coordination between the Great Lakes control boards and the boards created by the Agreement – the Great Lakes Water Quality Board (WQB) and Science Advisory Board (SAB). To better link water levels and flows regulation with water quality considerations, the GLAM Committee will engage in outreach activities with the WQB and SAB. The Committee’s reporting is expected to coincide with the Commission’s triennial assessment progress report under the GLWQA.