IJC: Taking A New Approach to Managing the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River

Published: 2012-02-14
Updated: 2012-12-12

The International Joint Commission (IJC)  released information about a new approach to manage water levels and flows in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River system. Details of the approach are available at www.ijc.org/LOSLR

Building on 50 years of experience, a five-year binational study and extensive public comment, the IJC is developing a new approach with the assistance of a Working Group of representatives from the governments of Canada, the United States, the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, and the State of New York.

The flow of water from Lake Ontario down the St. Lawrence River is regulated by the Moses-Saunders Dam in accordance with the IJC's 1956 order of approval. The current regulation plan moderates extreme high and low water levels on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. However, it is based on conditions of the last century, does not take the environment into account, and has no process for adapting to future challenges such as bigger storms and more severe droughts.

While continuing to moderate extreme high and low water levels, the new approach would allow for more natural water levels and flow patterns and is expected to produce significant environmental improvements. An Adaptive Management strategy would improve the capability to adapt to future changes, including socio-economic changes and significant changes in climate throughout the system.

The IJC welcomes public input on the new approach. The IJC will host online forums, and it will hold public information sessions around the basin in late spring 2012. Written comments on the new approach may be submitted via the LOSLR website or sent by regular mail or email to any of the following addresses:

International Joint Commission
U.S. Section
2000 L Street, NW
Suite #615
Washington, DC 20440

International Joint Commission
Canadian Section
234 Laurier Avenue West
22nd Floor
Ottawa, ON K1P 6K6

Comments received by June 15, 2012 will be considered in developing a proposal that will include a revised order of approval, regulation plan, adaptive management plan and a governance structure. The IJC will then hold formal public hearings on the proposal before arriving at a decision.
The International Joint Commission is an independent and objective organization that prevents and resolves disputes between the United States and Canada under the 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty and pursues the common good of both countries. Under the treaty, it approves projects that affect the levels and flows of boundary waters, such as the international hydroelectric power project located at Cornwall, Ontario and Massena, New York.

Frank Bevacqua Washington 202-736-9024 bevacquaf@washington.ijc.org

Bernard Beckhoff Ottawa 613-947-1420 beckhoff@ottawa.ijc.org

News Feed

Love Lake Michigan

The Lake Michigan Forum has launched a public awareness campaign called Love Lake Michigan.

Call for Abstracts and Poster Presentations

The 8th biennial State of Lake Michigan and 13th annual Great Lakes Beach Association Conference are now accepting abstracts for consideration.

Great Lakes lawmakers consider statewide bans on pavement sealants

Legislators in at least three Great Lakes states are proposing statewide bans of certain pavement sealants that have killed aquatic animals and are considered a possible health risk to humans.

Office of the Great Lakes has released the 2012 Michigan Water Conservation and Efficiency Program Review

The Office of the Great Lakes has released the 2012 Michigan Water Conservation and Efficiency Program Review, which assesses Michigan’s progress in meeting its obligations under the Great Lakes–St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact.

Focus Area 2 Aquatic Pathways Summary Report

Army Corps releases Focus Area 2 Aquatic Pathways Summary Report, solicits public comment