The International Lake Ontario - Saint Lawrence River Board (ILO-SLRB) was established by the International Joint Commission (IJC) in its 2016 Order of Approval. The Board's main duty is to ensure that outflows from Lake Ontario meet the requirements of the IJC's Order implementing Plan 2014. The Board also communicates with the public about water levels and flow regulation, and works with the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River Adaptive Management (GLAM) Committee which monitors the performance of the regulation plans in the Great Lakes.
The Board shares information on the levels and flows of the Lake Ontario – St. Lawrence River System at least weekly on its Facebook page, on this website, and will provide presentations to explain the system and the Board to stakeholder groups upon invitation. The Board’s duties include increasing public awareness of the risks of high and low water under Plan 2014, in part through liaison with stakeholder groups.
The 2016 Order provides criteria for managing flows through the Lake Ontario – St. Lawrence River system which are incorporated in Plan 2014. Allowing for more natural variations of water levels, the plan aims to foster the conditions needed to restore Lake Ontario and upper St. Lawrence River coastal wetlands and improve habitat for fish and wildlife. The plan will also frequently extend the Lake Ontario recreational boating season in the fall, better maintain system-wide levels for navigation and allow for a modest increase in hydropower production compared to the previous plan, Plan 1958D.
While Plan 2014 has been designed to moderate extreme levels on the lake and river, these levels may be unavoidable when water supplies are too high or too low. The Board may deviate from the rules of Plan 2014 under specific conditions and giving due consideration to the various interests. The full text of the 2016 Supplementary Order of Approval and Directive to the Board are available online.
The Board meets at least four times a year, more often by teleconference when required, and provides semi-annual reports to the IJC. Staff from the Board’s regulation offices in Canada and the United States monitor water levels and flows on a daily basis, liaise with the dam operators and keep the Board informed of these conditions.