Upper Great Lakes Study Expanded


THUNDER BAY – In response to the International Upper Great Lakes Study’s report on the St. Clair River, and comments from the public on the report, the International Joint Commission (IJC) has expanded the scope of study on the Upper Great Lakes.

The IJC concurs with the recommendations in the report and has provided further guidance to the International Upper Great Lakes Study Board pertaining to the recommendation that remedial measures not be undertake in the St. Clair River at this time.

The IJC has directed the Study Board to undertake an exploratory investigation of how raising the water-level regimes on Lakes Michigan and Huron by different amounts would affect interests on the Great Lakes system from Lake Superior to the St. Lawrence River. The IJC has agreed with the Study Board that it also review mitigative options based on potential climate change impacts.

In addition, the IJC provided guidance to the Study Board on three important matters raised in its 7th Progress Report, directing them to:

  • propose one alternative to the existing regulation plan based on its scientific investigations and extensive public input;
  • establish a legal rationale for selecting a future regulation plan that allows for the possibility of new physical conditions under a changing climate; and,
  • investigate and recommend institutional mechanisms for the management of water resources though one or more management boards in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River System.

The study will continue to examine whether the IJC Order of Approval and plan for regulating Lake Superior outflows should be modified to address the changing climate and the evolving needs of users on lakes Superior, Huron, Michigan and Erie. The final report of the Study Board on the entire study is expected to be completed and submitted to the IJC by early 2012.

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