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Seventh Quarterly Update for the International Souris River Basin Study Board

A Souris Basin Study Update

Seventh Quarterly Update for the International Souris River Study Board
January 2021

Welcome to the news bulletin from the International Souris River Study Board. The Study Board looks forward to keeping you informed of its progress as we investigate flooding, water supply, and other water related concerns in the Souris River Basin. Learn more about our mandate

Bruce Davison and Gregg Wiche
Canadian and US Study Managers 

Exercise your Social Muscle 
Please forward this bulletin to people who are interested in flood control, water supply, and other water related issues in the basin, and encourage them to sign up to receive news and updates from the Study Board in their inbox. 

Upper Des Lacs Lake and US Route 52. Photo taken by: Gregg Wiche

STUDY NEWS

Study Progress

COVID-19 is an ongoing complication affecting the Study. Governments have granted the Study an extra six months to submit the final report, which will help the study overcome delays due to the pandemic. The new deadline for final study report submission to the IJC is August 2021. The Study team will use the remaining time to complete the evaluation of potential reservoir operational changes, advance the climate change analysis, and finalize recommendations.
 
Study Board achievements in 2020:

  • The Study Team is currently in Phase 5 (final phase) of running and evaluating alternatives.
  • The Study Team created alternative building blocks for potential changes to operating rules of the 1989 agreement in the first three phases of plan formulation. The Study Team combined the alternative building blocks into preliminary operating plans in Phase 4.
  • In Phase 5, these operating plans were further refined based on feedback received from workshops held in November 2019 with the Public Advisory Group (PAG), and Resource and Agency Advisory Group (RAAG).
  • The Study Board also held a workshop for First Nations, Métis and Tribes interested in the Study in November 2020.

Upcoming Study Tasks in 2021

  • Final report writing and review
  • Engagement with PAG, RAAG and Indigenous Nations on study recommendations
  • Public comment period for final report
  • Submission of final report to IJC

The Study Team is continuing to work on documentation for Phase 5, completing interim deliverables, and developing the Study's final report. However, COVID-19 has limited the Study Team’s ability to run simulations. As the situation improves, the Study Team will be able to resume running and analyzing simulations of the alternatives.  

Virtual workshops and webinars have been utilized to continue engagement with the PAG, RAAG, and Indigenous Peoples during COVID-19 restrictions. The Study Team hopes to transition from virtual platforms to in-person meetings once the travel restrictions have been lifted and if resources are available.  

Study Report Timeline
The Study Team plans to have the draft final report completed by May 2021. The draft final report will then enter a period of review during which Indigenous Nations, PAG and RAAG will have a chance to provide feedback. The Study team will then address any comments and create an updated draft. The updated draft will go through a public review period before the final version of the report is submitted to the IJC. Once the IJC has the final report, it will begin its own review before forwarding their recommendations to Governments.

Planned Future engagement
Virtual workshops and webinars have been utilized to continue engagement with the PAG, RAAG, and Indigenous Peoples during COVID-19 restrictions. The Study Team plans to continue engagement with advisory groups and Indigenous Nations virtually in 2021. Engagement in 2021 will focus on feedback on proposed recommendations to be included in the final report, and on a draft of the final report itself.  

Photos of the Souris River
The North Dakota State Water Commission (NDSWC) flew a drone along the Souris River on October 9, 2020. The following photos were captured from the drone footage.

Souris River near Sawyer, ND. Photo provided by: Laura Ackerman (NDSWC) 

Souris River near Velva, ND. Photo provided by: Laura Ackerman (NDSWC)

Souris River near Towner, ND. Photo provided by: Laura Ackerman (NDSWC)

Resources on the Web

The Study Board has resources on its website to help you become more familiar with flooding and water supply issues in the Souris River Basin. Click on Library on the home page to view:

  1. Review of Artificial Drainage Impacts – a fact sheet
  2. PAG Mid-term Report
  3. A pamphlet on The 1989 International Agreement for Water Supply and Flood Control in the Souris River Basin
  4. A brochure on the International Souris River Study
  5. Dams and Reservoirs in the Souris River Basin – a fact sheet
  6. The Unique Hydrology of the Souris River Basin – a fact sheet

Calendar

Did you know that study board meetings and other public events are listed on our website? View these and upcoming public events under Calendar on the home page.

Stay connected. Be involved.
Web: www.ijc.org/en/srsb
Email: srsb@ijc.org
Follow us on Facebook using #sourisriverstudy