The International Joint Commission (IJC) has announced that it is inviting public comment on recommendations made by the International Red River Board (IRRB) in a report describing proposed nutrient concentration objectives and nutrient load targets for the Red River at the boundary between the United States and Canada. Comments were accepted at a public hearing on January 16, 2020 in Fargo, North Dakota, and in Winnipeg, Manitoba on February 12, 2020 and by mail (see mailing addresses in footer of webpage), email and on-line until March 28, 2020.
The IRRB’s full report can be found on the IJC website at the following link: https://ijc.org/en/rrb/proposed-nutrient-concentration-objectives-and-loading-targets-red-river-uscanada-boundary. For more background documents please scroll to the end of this page.
Public Hearings on IRRB’s Report on Proposed Nutrient Water Quality Objectives
Fargo, North Dakota
Date: January 16, 2020
Time: 7-9 p.m. (CST)
Location: Delta Marriott Fargo
1635 42nd St SW
Fargo, ND. 58103
Date: February 12, 2020
Time: 7-9 p.m. (CST)
Location: Four Points by Sheraton Winnipeg South Hotel
2935 Pembina Highway
Winnipeg MB R3T 2H5.
The Commission reports on water quality of the Red River as it crosses the boundary pursuant to a reference under Article IX of the Boundary Waters Treaty between the United States and Canada. Commission recommendations to the two federal governments under Article IX References of the Boundary Waters Treaty are not binding and not to be considered decisions of the two federal governments.
The International Red River Board was established by the Commission in part to assist in reporting on the water quality of the Red River as it crosses the boundary and to recommend amendments or additions to the water quality objectives approved by the U.S. and Canadian governments in 1968 when considered warranted by the Commission.
In the 2000s the IRRB identified nutrients as an issue of concern. The Board established a Water Quality Committee to develop recommendations for potential nutrient load allocations and/or targets. At the IRRB’s September 2019 meeting the Board agreed to recommend the following nutrient concentration objectives and nutrient load targets for the Red River at the boundary between the U.S. and Canada:
Nutrient concentration objective
- Total Phosphorus 0.15 mg/L
- Total Nitrogen 1.15 mg/L
- Seasonal Average (April 1-October 30)
Nutrient load target
- Total Phosphorus 1,400 tonnes/year
- Total Nitrogen 9,525 tonnes/year
- Five year running average
Commissioners were present to hear comments at the above referenced public hearings in Fargo, North Dakota on January 16, 2020 from 7-9 p.m, and in Winnipeg, Manitoba on February 12 at the same time. A public comment period on the IRRB’s report will also be open through March 28, 2020. Public input is essential to the Commission’s consideration of a recommendation to the Governments of the United States and Canada.
The International Joint Commission was established under the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 to help the United States and Canada prevent and resolve disputes over the use of the waters the two countries share. Its responsibilities include investigating and reporting on issues of concern when asked by the governments of the two countries.
Public Comments - Received by mail or by e-mail
United States Environmental Protection Agency - Region 8
Minnesota Cities of Breckenridge, Moorhead, Roseau, Thief River Falls and Warroad
City of Moorhead, Engineering Department
City of Warroad, Utility Superintendent
North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
Red River Retention Authority
City of Roseau, Community Development Coordinator
Lake Winnipeg Indigenous Collective
Lake Winnipeg Foundation
Bois de Sioux Watershed Board
Coalition to Save Lake Winnipeg
Gordon and Bernice Lawrie
City of Thief River Falls
North Dakota State Senator Tim Mathern - District 11
Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development
City of Pelican Rapids
Manitoba Association of Cottage Owners
Red River Watershed Management Board
Minnesota State Senators and House Representatives - Minnesota Senate Districts 1, 4 and 12, Minnesota House Districts 1A, 1B, 4A, 4B, 12A
Hall & Associates
City of Breckenridge, Public Utilities
Minnesota Cities of Breckenridge, Moorhead, Roseau and Warroad
South Basin Mayors and Reeves
Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities
Manitoba Métis Federation
Minnesota Environmental Science and Economic Review Board
City of Fergus Falls, Engineering Department