Public Voice Important Part of Souris River Study: Survey Coming Soon

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Randi Morry
August 21, 2018
Public comment from Goodman

 

US rancher Leland Goodman comments at the public meeting of the Souris River Study Board in June 2018. Credit: IJC
US rancher Leland Goodman comments at the public meeting of the Souris River Study Board in June 2018. Credit: IJC

Following a public meeting which drew about 60 people to Saskatchewan on June 25, the International Joint Commission continues to seek feedback from people living and working in the Souris River basin.

The Souris River Board hosts a public meeting each year to share information on basin conditions and water management activities. This year, the meeting included presentations by Souris River Study Board members tasked with a three-year mandate from governments to review reservoir operations and the impacts of flooding in the basin, and make recommendations on how they might be improved.  

David O’Connell, US co-lead of the study’s Public Advisory Group (PAG), says it’s important for people affected by water levels and flow in the basin to have a voice in the study.

“We’ve held two successful public meetings so far—one in Minot, North Dakota, in February, in addition to this recent one in Estevan, and each time the study members have benefitted from the input of citizens and organizations.

“For instance, the release of water from reservoirs, tributary river flows, artificial drainage and the need for improved communication during high water events are topics that we’re hearing are on people’s minds. Knowing this is one way we can address these concerns during the course of the study.”

O’Connell’s counterpart in Canada, Debbie McMechan, says the PAG’s main role is to bring the views of the public to the attention of the study board for consideration.  

“We’re about to launch a survey asking people for their experiences with water levels along the Souris River,” McMechan says. “This will help the study to better understand the impacts and benefits in different parts of the basin as flows increase and water levels reach different elevations.”

Watch the study web page for the launch of the survey later this summer.

A view of the Rafferty reservoir in summer 2018. Credit: IJC
A view of the Rafferty reservoir in summer 2018. Credit: IJC


In addition to seeking the views of communities in the basin, the Public Advisory Group also is becoming active on Facebook, sharing news and information about the Study when it happens. To follow the study on social media, like the IJC on Facebook and share posts with the hashtag #sourisriverstudy.

To learn more about the study and stay connected, visit the web page at www.ijc.org/srsb and read the PAG’s spring 2018 report, “Public Perceptions in the Souris River Basin.” While there, be sure to subscribe to updates so you never miss a thing.

Have a question on the study that is not addressed in the Frequently Asked Questions section of the website? Send it to Debbie McMechan or David O’Connell at sourisriverstudy@ijc.ottawa.org.

Picture of Randi Morry
Randi Morry