International Joint Commission Seeks Public Comment on Study of St. Croix River Water Levels and Flows


The International Joint Commission (IJC) invites public comment on the final report of its Steering Committee that examined how water levels and flows in the St. Croix River system are regulated. Comment may be provided in writing by October 23, 1998 or at a public meeting to be held August 26 at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (U.S.) at the Danforth Town Hall in Danforth, Maine.

The Steering Committee's report recommends no changes to the IJC Orders of Approval. The Orders of Approval set water level and flow requirements for four dams on the international portion of the St. Croix River system: Forest City Dam at the outlet of East Grand Lake, Vanceboro Dam at the outlet of Spednic Lake, Grand Falls Dam and Milltown Dam.

The IJC established the Steering Committee in 1993 and asked it to review the Orders of Approval after concerns about water levels and flows had been expressed at public meetings during the summer of 1992. The Steering Committee consists of members of the IJC's International St. Croix River Board of Control and its International Advisory Board on Pollution Control-St. Croix River.

A Stakeholders Group, consisting of representatives from over 40 agencies, municipalities, businesses, waterway associations and other groups, was also formed to assist the Steering Committee and its Working Group. The Stakeholders Group conducted a survey to determine the views and preferences on water management from a range of interests in the watershed.

The Working Group modelled proposals made by the Stakeholders Group and determined that adding a minimum level for Grand Falls Lake (above Grand Falls Dam) was the only proposal that met the requirements of the IJC's Orders, domestic regulatory requirements and nonregulatory user-preferences that are currently being accommodated. The proposed minimum level is already being observed by Georgia-Pacific Corporation, the owner and operator of Grand Falls Dam. The Working Group also developed a "modified scenario" that combined all stakeholder proposals and modified them slightly in an attempt to increase the chances of success. It was not possible to meet the objectives of the modified scenario in the modelling effort based on the 20 years of water supply data available to the Working Group.

The Steering Committee also identified the U.S. regulatory requirement of a 750 cubic foot per second minimum flow at Baring Maine as a significant constraint to changing how water levels and flows are regulated in the St. Croix River. The IJC has asked its International Advisory Board on Pollution Control-St. Croix River to review this requirement in conjunction with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

Written comments on the final report of the Steering Committee should be sent to the IJC at one of the addresses below for receipt by October 23, 1998. The report is available on the World Wide Web at or from either of the following addresses:


International Joint Commission 
United States Section 
1250 23rd Street, NW, Suite 100 
Washington, D.C. 20440 
Tel: (202) 736-9000 
Fax: (202) 736-9015 International Joint Commission 
Canadian Section 
100 Metcalfe Street, 18th Floor 
Ottawa, ON K1P 5M1 
Tel: (613) 995-2984 
Fax: (613) 993-5583 

Copies of the technical report of the Working Group, as well as copies of the Steering Committee's final report, are available for inspection at the following locations:


  • Calais City Building, 5 Church Street, Calais, Maine
  • Town of Danforth Office, Central Street, Danforth, Maine
  • McAdam Town Office, 146 Saunders Road, McAdam, New Brunswick
  • St. Stephen City Office, 34 Milltown Boulevard, St. Stephen, New Brunswick
  • St. Croix International Waterway Commission, Highway #1 (near the traffic circle), St. Stephen, New Brunswick

Copies of the Steering Committee's final report may also be requested from the St. Croix International Waterway Commission at #8, Highway #1, St. Stephen, New Brunswick E3L 2Y7 or at P.O. Box 610, Calais, ME 04619. Telephone (506) 466-7550.

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 change water levels on the other side of the boundary. If it approves a project, the Commission's Orders of Approval may require that flows through the project meet certain conditions to protect interests in both countries. For more information, visit www.ijc.orgon the World Wide Web.

Contacts: Frank Bevacqua Washington, D.C. (202) 736-9024 Fabien Lengellé Ottawa, Ontario (613) 995-0088