Section 1: The International Niagara Board of Control (INBC)

1.1 What is the INBC? 

The International Niagara Board of Control (INBC) is a body that provides advice on matters related to the Commission’s responsibilities for water levels and flow in the Niagara River. The Board’s main duties are to oversee water level regulation in the Chippawa-Grass Island Pool and the installation of the Lake Erie-Niagara River Ice Boom. The Board also collaborates with the International Niagara Committee, a body created by the 1950 Niagara Treaty, to determine the amount of water available for the Falls and power generation.

1.2 What are the principal provisions of the Directive from the IJC Constituting the International Niagara Board of Control (INBC)? 

The 1953 Directive from the IJC that created the International Niagara Board of Control states that the INBC will review and approve the design and procedures for the installation of the remedial works at Niagara Falls, and exercise control over the maintenance and operation of the International Niagara Control Works in such a manner as to fully meet the scenic beauty requirements of Article IV of the Niagara Treaty. The Board is to collaborate fully with the representatives designated by the Governments of Canada and the United States as provided in Article VII of the Niagara Treaty in the performance of their duties of the ascernment and determination of the amounts of water available for the Treaty. The Niagara Board is to periodically provide the IJC information on the amounts of water available for the Treaty, the amounts of water flowing over the Horseshoe and American Falls, respectively, the amounts of water diverted for power purposes from the Niagara River and the Welland Canal, and the amounts of water diverted from Lake Erie through the Niagara River and Welland Canal for domestic, sanitary, navigation and for any other purpose. The Niagara Board is also required to submit written reports to the IJC twice a year and at at other times when the Commission may direct and to make representatives available to appear before the IJC when requested.

1.3 Who is on the INBC? 

The INBC has four members: two from each country, Canada and the United States. Current membership can be found on the Board’s website. Members are not paid for the time they devote to INBC activities beyond any salaries they receive from their employer if they are employed by another institution. The members bring a variety of technical and local knowledge to Board discussions.

1.4 How are members of the INBC appointed? 

Members of the INBC are appointed by the IJC. Appointments are based on members’ technical background and knowledge of the Lake Erie-Niagara River system. Board members are appointed to serve impartially in their personal and professional capacities, not as representatives of particular agencies, interests or geographic regions.

1.5 Does the INBC take formal votes on its decisions?

Similar to the IJC, the INBC operates by consensus rather than by taking formal votes. The Board discusses the probable outcomes of various courses of action, the views expressed by individual members, and input from the public, until consensus is achieved. If consensus is not reached, additional information and discussion may be required to reach an informed solution.

1.6 Does the International Niagara Board of Control regulate the water level and outflow from Lake Erie?

No, the INBC does not regulate the water level and/or outflow from Lake Erie. The INBC oversees the operation of the International Niagara Control Works (INCW), a structure about 0.8 kilometers upstream of the Horseshoe Falls. The structure is used to raise and lower the Chippawa Grass Island Pool to adjust the flow over the Falls. The elevation of the Chippawa Grass Island Pool also affects the amount of water that can be diverted through the tunnels and open channels operated by the Power Entities in Canada and the United States. The influence of the INCW is limited to the Chippawa Grass Island Pool.

1.7 What is done to ensure that the public has input into INBC decisions? 

The INBC actively engages the public through various means including annual meetings with the public, the issuance of news releases to media, and the board’s website. The Board also receives and responds to phone calls, letters, and e-mail messages in a timely manner. Public input is considered in decision making by the Board.

1.8 Are records of INBC decisions accessible to the public?

Yes, the INBC releases its semi-annual reports to the IJC. These reports are made available to the public on the IJC Board web-site following the spring and fall semi-annual appearances with the IJC. The International Niagara Working Committee’s annual report to the International Niagara Board of Control on the Ice boom is published and shared with the public, again on the Board’s IJC website.