Review of Canada-US Great Lakes Programs Advises Improvements to Binational Cooperation on Climate, Nutrients


Now more than ever, it’s time to embrace binational cooperation to ensure that the waters and people of the Great Lakes basin are healthy. The International Joint Commission (IJC) has advice for Canada and the United States to improve binational cooperation in Great Lakes water quality programs.

In a new report released today, the IJC recommends that both governments spend the next three years establishing a binational climate adaptation strategy, eliminating blue-green algal blooms from Lake Superior, better linking program activities to progress reporting and improving public engagement. The 2020 Second Triennial Assessment of Progress Report on Great Lakes Water Quality is available now at

To release the report, the IJC is hosting two virtual news conferences today, Thursday, December 10, 2020. Register here for the English conference at 2 p.m. ET; register here for the French conference at 3:30 p.m. ET.

IJC Canadian Section Chair Pierre Béland and US Section Chair Jane Corwin will provide a presentation on the report.

“Climate change is a priority concern according to respondents of the Commission’s public outreach. Meaningful climate change adaptation will take binational cooperation and commitments to action from all sectors,” said Chair Corwin.

“An important part of the IJC’s responsibilities is public engagement, and we are grateful to the people who shared their time and talents with us last year. Binational cooperation also requires vigorous and diverse engagement,” said Chair Béland.

In 2019, more than 2,000 people participated in IJC meetings and surveys to collect public input on government documents that the IJC reviews as part of its Triennial Assessment of Progress reporting duties. An online IJC Story Map contains the record of public comments.

Today’s webinar at 2 p.m. in English and 3:30 p.m. in French will include brief statements by three invited speakers from the IJC’s 2019 events. Joining from Ashland, Wisconsin, will be Valerie Damstra, operations manager of the Burke Center for Freshwater Innovation at Northland College, and colleague Emma Holtan, recent graduate and water research specialist. Joining from Exeter, Ontario, will be Mari Veliz, Healthy Watersheds manager at the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority. There will be time reserved at the end for answering participants’ questions.

The IJC is an independent treaty organization which assists Canada and the United States to prevent and resolve disputes over shared waters, including the Great Lakes. The IJC is responsible to assess the progress of the governments every three years under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.


Allison Voglesong Zejnati, IJC Public Affairs Specialist (contractor), 519-551-0952,

Sarah Lobrichon, IJC Public Affairs Officer, 613-794-8592,

Frank Bevacqua, IJC Public Information Officer, 202-736-9024,