Fifth Quarterly Update for the International Souris River Study Board

July 2020

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 up to receive news and updates from the Study
Board in their inbox.

Souris River at Manitoba Provincial 10

Souris River at Manitoba Provincial Highway 10 near Minto, MB - Credit: Mark Lee



Study Progress
COVID-19 is an ongoing complication affecting current resources and the overall schedule of the Study.
The Study Board has created several options for schedule adjustments to make up for the time lost
during the COVID-19 crisis. The options have been submitted to the IJC, and the Study Team is waiting
for direction from governments. Once direction is provided, the Public Advisory Group, Resource and
Agency Advisory Group, Indigenous Peoples and general public will be updated.

The Study Team created alternative building blocks for potential changes to operating rules in the 
first three phases of plan formulation. The Study Team combined the alternative building blocks into
preliminary operating plans in phase IV. In phase V, 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 Team is continuing to work on documentation for phase V, completing interim deliverables,
and the final Study 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.

Continued Engagement

The Study Team plans to continue engagement with the PAG, RAAG, and Indigenous Nations and Tribes
through webinars in the coming months. Once travel restrictions have been lifted and resources are
available, the Study Team hopes to transition the webinars to in person workshops, if possible.

Hydrologic Visualization Tool

The Study has developed a Hydrologic Visualization Tool that allows the user to compare alternative
simulation results at different locations in the Souris River Basin. It is currently being used 
internally as a tool to help the Study Team and Advisory Groups see the changes that are being made 
and how they might affect certain areas. This tool is something that will be made available to the 
Public at the end of the Study once the results have been finalized and the report has been completed.

Hydrologic Visualization Tool

Screenshot of ISRSB Hydrologic Visualization Tool

Strategies for Dealing with Changes in the Future

The Study’s focus is to investigate flooding, water supply, and other water related concerns in the 
Souris River Basin as outlined in the Reference. Throughout the engagement process, the Study Team has 
heard concerns in the basin that fall outside of the Study scope. The Study can ensure that the 
concerns are preserved for future consideration by documenting and highlighting them in reports and 
open issue statements to the IJC and ISRB transition team. Continuation and utilization of the Study Board work
will be addressed through:

1.   Recommendations of future studies, and
2.   Adaptive Management within the mandates of the ISRB and participating agencies

How are Future Studies Started?

Future studies can be started by a reference from governments, similar to the way that this Study 
was initiated, or the International Souris River Board can make use of the IJC’s International 
Watersheds Initiative (IWI) for smaller inquiries. The IWI employs an ecosystem approach to 
transboundary watershed issues and supports IJC boards in their work to manage resources, promote 
communication, and conduct scientific studies. The IWI supports this work through board-submitted 
projects, which then proceed through the IWI review process before approved projects are 
implemented. You can learn more about the IWI at

What is Adaptive Management?

The International Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River Adaptive Management Task Team (2013) defined
adaptive Management as:

A structured, iterative cycle for improving actions through long-term monitoring, modelling and 
assessment. Adaptive management allows decisions to be reviewed, adjusted and revised as new 
information and knowledge becomes available and/or as conditions change.

The products of the Souris Study are tools that can be used in the adaptive management cycle and 
for assessing different alternatives and new information on downstream effects of reservoir 
management as they become available and important to citizens in the basin.

Adaptive Screenshot

Adaptive Management Cycle   –   depicts and highlights the importance of collaboration and institutional arrangements both in terms of the
state of the science and social interactions.


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



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


Stay connected. Be involved.



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IJC [International Joint Commission] Adaptive Management Task Team (2013): Building Collaboration
Across the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River System: An Adaptive Management Plan for Addressing 
Extreme Water Levels. Report to the International Joint Commission, May 30, 2013. Accessed on June 
2, 2020 at