International Joint Commission Decides Not To Adopt Plan 1998


The International Joint Commission (IJC) today announced that it has decided not to adopt Plan 1998 for the regulation of Lake Ontario outflows at this time. After full consideration of issues raised during public comment, the IJC determined that it does not have sufficient information on the environmental impacts associated with the proposed plan and that the plan would not constitute sufficient improvement over the existing situation. The International St. Lawrence River Board of Control (ISLRBC) will continue to manage the waters of the Lake Ontario ­ St. Lawrence River system according to Plan 1958-D with deviations, as is presently the case.

Plan 1998 was developed by the ISLRBC following studies ending in 1993 that examined issues related to water levels fluctuations in the Great Lakes, including possible improvements to Plan 1958-D with deviations. The ISLRBC developed two alternative regulation plans and assessed their respective performances with historical water supplies and current water supplies over a three-year period. In 1997, the ISLRBC recommended that the IJC implement one of the alternatives beginning in 1998 and, therefore, named it Plan 1998. In turn, the IJC and ISLRBC held six public meetings in the fall of 1997 to give any interested parties an opportunity to gather information about and have an opportunity to be heard on Plan 1998.

The IJC will continue to pursue support and funding for the development and execution of the more comprehensive studies outlined in a "Scope of Work" prepared by the ISLRBC in 1996. The Scope of Work was developed through a public consultation process that included five public meetings. The purpose of these studies is to provide sufficient information for the Commission to determine whether or not changes are warranted to the regulation of Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River levels and flows. As a first step it will constitute a binational work group to translate the Scope of Work into a Plan of Study. To date the Governments of the United States and Canada have not made funds for the needed studies available.

The International Joint Commission was created under the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 to help prevent and resolve disputes over the use of waters along the Canada-United States boundary. Its responsibilities include approving certain projects that would alter water levels on the other side of the boundary, such as the international hydropower facility at Massena, New-York and Cornwall, Ontario. The Commission's Order of Approval requires that the facility meet certain conditions to protect the interests in both countries. For more information, please consult the Commission's Web site

The IJC established the International St. Lawrence River Board of Control (ISLRBC) to ensure that outflows from Lake Ontario meet the requirements of the Commission's Orders of Approval. The Board also develops regulation plans and conducts special studies as requested by the Commission. For more information, please consult the Board Web site at


Fabien Lengellé Ottawa ON 613.995.0088 Frank Bevacqua Washington, DC 202.736.9024