The International Columbia River Board of Control (Board) was established by Order of the International Joint Commission (IJC) dated 15 December 1941 to ensure the implementation of the provisions of that Order — which granted approval for the United States to construct and operate the Grand Coulee dam and reservoir (Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake) — and to continue to study the effect of the operation of the Grand Coulee dam and reservoir upon water levels at and above the international boundary.

The Columbia River rises in British Columbia on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains, and after flowing approximately 459 miles (739 km) through British Columbia crosses the international boundary into the State of Washington, and after a further course of approximately 740 miles (1190 km) discharges into the Pacific Ocean near Astoria, Oregon. One member each from Environment Canada and the U.S. Geological Survey comprise the two-member Board, which keeps the Commission apprised of streamflow and water-level data on both sides of the international boundary and reports to the Commission each April.