The IJC’s regular fall Semi-Annual Meeting will occur this winter, following a partial U.S. government shutdown in early October.
The Semi-Annual, originally scheduled for the week of Oct. 21, will now be held on from Dec. 9-12 at the IJC’s Canadian Section Office in Ottawa, Ontario.
Staff at the IJC’s U.S. Section Office in Washington, D.C., were furloughed during the shutdown, along with U.S. staff at our Great Lakes Regional Office in Windsor, Ontario. Thanks to our Canadian counterparts in Windsor and Ottawa, we were able to minimize disruptions to IJC activities, and planning for the Semi-Annual. That included Canadian staff hosting an open house on the Lake Erie Ecosystem Priority (LEEP) on Oct. 2 in Ohio.
During the upcoming Semi-Annual, Commissioners will hear updates (in person and via video teleconference) from members of the various boards that deal with water-related issues along the Canada-U.S. border. These boards cover areas including the Red and Souris rivers, Rainy-Lake of the Woods watershed, Osoyoos and Kootenay lakes, and the Great Lakes basin.
A workshop with board members also is planned on strategic directions for the International Watersheds Initiative, developed by the IJC in 1998 to encourage a better-integrated, more-participatory, ecosystem-based approach to issues in transboundary water basins.
From left to right: Former Commissioner Lyle Knott and Chair Joe Comuzzi pay tribute to retiring IJC engineer Mr. Tom McAuley at the 2012 Fall Semi-Annual Meeting in Ottawa, Ontario. Credit: IJC.
Prior to the Semi-Annual, commissioners also are planning an executive session to discuss items that would have been dealt with in October. Those include Great Lakes education and outreach priorities in coming years (we’ve started with Lake Erie under LEEP), appointments to the Great Lakes Water Quality and Science Advisory boards, consideration of plan to develop a water quality plan of study for the Lake of the Woods, and previously submitted public comments on the Canada-U.S. Air Quality Agreement.
We’ll be releasing more information as progress and decisions are made.