St. Croix River Basin
The St. Croix River runs along 185 km (115 miles) of the international boundary between Canada and the United States. This portion of the boundary lies between Maine and New Brunswick and includes the main stem of the river and its headwaters. The river basin covers an area of about 4,230 sq km (1,630 sq miles) making it the fourth largest river basin in New Brunswick and the seventh largest in Maine.
The St. Croix River has always played an important role in the development of this area because the economy is based largely on natural resources and tourism. The river is known for its fisheries and recreational resources as well as being a source of hydro-electric power and municipal and industrial water supply.
History of the International St. Croix River Watershed Board
For many years, the International Joint Commission (IJC) had two boards in the St. Croix River watershed, one concerned with water levels and flows and another concerned with water quality. Due to the close cooperation between these two boards, they have been leaders in the IJC’s efforts to develop its International Watershed Initiative.
The International St. Croix River Board of Control was established in 1915 to monitor compliance with the requirements of the Orders of Approval issued by the IJC for the dams on the St. Croix River at Forest City, Vanceboro, Grand Falls and Milltown. The International Advisory Board on Pollution Control – St. Croix River was established in 1962 to report on compliance with international water quality objectives and on pollution abatement efforts of industries and municipalities along the river.
The IJC formally combined these two boards in September 2000 and established the International St. Croix River Board. The two boards had already worked together for some time on a range of issues and had regularly held joint annual public meetings. Combining the boards was consistent with the ecosystem approach adopted by the IJC in order to address water quantity and water quality together as part of the full range of water-related issues.
In April 2007, the IJC issued a new directive designating the board as its first international watershed board and broadening its mandate to proactively assist in preventing and resolving disputes regarding the boundary waters of the St. Croix River by working with stakeholders within the watershed.