Refining the Process for Evaluating Regulation Plan 2014

Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Adaptive Management Committee
glam workshop february 2024

The IJC’s Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Adaptive Management (GLAM) Committee and technical team members met in Quebec City earlier this year to practice a full plan evaluation exercise. The project is part of Phase 2 of the Expedited Review of Plan 2014, the plan for regulating outflows from Lake Ontario into the St. Lawrence River. 

Although the February 2024 workshop was only a preliminary first attempt, the practice session highlighted challenges in finding options to prevent floods and droughts, which are driven by Mother Nature, and alternatives to satisfy all interests.

All parts of the plan evaluation process are still in development. The focus of the workshop was to apply an evaluation strategy and identify critical next steps in the review process. The workshop allowed GLAM Committee members, technical teams, plan formulators, plan evaluators and IJC advisers to vet and improve the evaluation process. The process will be used by the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board to determine whether changes to the regulation plan should be recommended to the IJC. 

Several preliminary alternative plans were evaluated and compared to Plan 2014, using a draft model that compiled a subset of draft performance indicators and impact ranges.

There are still many indicators and ranges to be finalized and entered into an Integrated Social, Economic and Environmental (ISEE) system model. 

The ISEE is used to calculate metrics such as Performance Indicators that will be used to evaluate regulation plans. Its high-resolution database and output will help assess how revisions to Plan 2014 could impact shoreline properties and infrastructure, Indigenous communities, shipping, ecosystems, hydropower production and recreation within Lake Ontario and along the St. Lawrence River. 

Through the practice evaluation process, the GLAM Committee identified the need for improved representation of various indicator results. More analysis is expected in these areas as the ISEE and other evaluation tools are refined.

Workshop participants noted the GLAM Committee will soon be able to evaluate the performance of alternate regulation plans under different water supply conditions that may occur as a result of climate change. 

While the expedited review is focused on improvements to regulation under extreme conditions, the GLAM Committee also discussed robustness and resiliency of alternate plans under a range of potential near-future climates. A deeper dive into robustness and resiliency will likely be part of longer-term adaptive management work following the expedited review. 

Assessing balance and trade-offs in the Expedited Review of Plan 2014 will require more input and discussion with the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board. The GLAM Committee plans to meet again in June, with improved model results and information to continue testing the process. Final model results are not expected until the end of 2024, at which point the board will identify findings and recommendations that members intend to provide to the IJC in spring 2025.

The GLAM Committee also has been meeting regularly with its Public Advisory Group to provide updates and seek input from members. The last virtual meeting took place on March 8 with an in-person meeting planned for May.  

For more information on the PAG and GLAM’s Expedited Review of Plan 2014, visit


Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Adaptive Management Committee