IJC Challenges in an Era of Uncertainty

by Murray Clamen, Int Joint Commision, Canada,
Donald Parsons, Int Joint Commision, Canada,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Waterpower '89


Since its creation pursuant to the 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty between the United States and Canada, the International Joint Commission (IJC) has evolved into an effective mechanism for regulating and resolving transborder problems, principally involved with water resources. The scope of the Commission's work has undergone several other changes in the last two decades. Two examples are the increased awareness of the ecosystem perspective, and the need to integrate the public into the work of the IJC. An example of where these problems manifest themselves today, is in the current study of fluctuating water levels in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin. Criteria used to adapt to fluctuations were established when navigation and power were considered of primary importance to the economy of the Great Lakes. Now increased lakeshore development and recreational industry and use pose major economic, social and environmental impacts within and outside the Basin. On the other hand it is significant that conditions in long-standing IJC Orders of Approval, that resolved the balance among competing interests, represent a regime of stability that requires caution in approaching suggestions for change.

Subject Headings: Water resources | Uncertainty principles | Water level | Lakes | Rivers and streams | Basins | River bank stabilization | Domain boundary | Great Lakes | Canada | United States

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