International Rainy Lake of the Woods Watershed Board provides advice on matters related to the IJC’s responsibilities for management of the watershed.
The Watershed Board appears annually in front of the International Joint Commission, where it delivers an annual report on the operation of the dams and certain water quality parameters, but also on its activities and the basin concerns that the Watershed Board has identified. The Watershed Board acts as the eyes and ears of the Commission in the watershed. The International Joint Commission brings matters of concern to the attention of the United States and Canadian governments.
Once a year, usually in August, the Watershed Board holds at least one Public Meeting in the Watershed where its members listen to the concerns brought before the Board. Also the Community and Industry Advisory Groups are open to issues raised by the public throughout the year. Some issues raised in the past have been concerns with mining around Ely MN, cottage development without sufficient sanitary infrastructure, and the spread of invasive species.
The Water Levels Committee also advises the International Joint Commission on those occasions when it may be advisable to direct the dam operators to target outside the rule curves. The Watershed Board provides advice on general water quality issues. A third responsibility of the International Joint Commission has been for International Watershed Initiatives, which are projects to improve communication or the science in an international watershed. Some of the projects funded in the watershed have been related to fish spawning in the Seine and Rainy rivers.