Fifth Quarterly Update for the International Souris River Study Board
Welcome to the news bulletin from the International Souris River Study Board. The Study Board looks
forward to keeping you informed of its progress as we investigate flooding, water supply, and other
water related concerns in the Souris River Basin. Learn more about our mandate.
Bruce Davison and Gregg Wiche
Canadian and US Study Managers
Exercise your Social Muscle
Please forward this bulletin to people who are interested in flood control, water supply, and other water
related issues in the basin, and encourage them to sign up up to receive news and updates from the Study
Board in their inbox.
Souris River at Manitoba Provincial Highway 10 near Minto, MB - Credit: Mark Lee
COVID-19 is an ongoing complication affecting current resources and the overall schedule of the Study.
The Study Board has created several options for schedule adjustments to make up for the time lost
during the COVID-19 crisis. The options have been submitted to the IJC, and the Study Team is waiting
for direction from governments. Once direction is provided, the Public Advisory Group, Resource and
Agency Advisory Group, Indigenous Peoples and general public will be updated.
The Study Team created alternative building blocks for potential changes to operating rules in the
first three phases of plan formulation. The Study Team combined the alternative building blocks into
preliminary operating plans in phase IV. In phase V, these operating plans were further refined
based on feedback received from workshops held in November 2019 with the Public Advisory Group (PAG), and
Resource and Agency Advisory Group (RAAG).
The Study Team is continuing to work on documentation for phase V, completing interim deliverables,
and the final Study report. However, COVID-19 has limited the Study Team’s ability to run
simulations. As the situation improves, the Study Team will be able to resume running and
analyzing simulations of the alternatives.
The Study Team plans to continue engagement with the PAG, RAAG, and Indigenous Nations and Tribes
through webinars in the coming months. Once travel restrictions have been lifted and resources are
available, the Study Team hopes to transition the webinars to in person workshops, if possible.
Hydrologic Visualization Tool
The Study has developed a Hydrologic Visualization Tool that allows the user to compare alternative
simulation results at different locations in the Souris River Basin. It is currently being used
internally as a tool to help the Study Team and Advisory Groups see the changes that are being made
and how they might affect certain areas. This tool is something that will be made available to the
Public at the end of the Study once the results have been finalized and the report has been completed.
Screenshot of ISRSB Hydrologic Visualization Tool
Strategies for Dealing with Changes in the Future
The Study’s focus is to investigate flooding, water supply, and other water related concerns in the
Souris River Basin as outlined in the Reference. Throughout the engagement process, the Study Team has
heard concerns in the basin that fall outside of the Study scope. The Study can ensure that the
concerns are preserved for future consideration by documenting and highlighting them in reports and
open issue statements to the IJC and ISRB transition team. Continuation and utilization of the Study Board work
will be addressed through:
1. Recommendations of future studies, and
2. Adaptive Management within the mandates of the ISRB and participating agencies
How are Future Studies Started?
Future studies can be started by a reference from governments, similar to the way that this Study
was initiated, or the International Souris River Board can make use of the IJC’s International
Watersheds Initiative (IWI) for smaller inquiries. The IWI employs an ecosystem approach to
transboundary watershed issues and supports IJC boards in their work to manage resources, promote
communication, and conduct scientific studies. The IWI supports this work through board-submitted
projects, which then proceed through the IWI review process before approved projects are
implemented. You can learn more about the IWI at https://ijc.org/en/what/iwi.
What is Adaptive Management?
The International Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River Adaptive Management Task Team (2013) defined
adaptive Management as:
A structured, iterative cycle for improving actions through long-term monitoring, modelling and
assessment. Adaptive management allows decisions to be reviewed, adjusted and revised as new
information and knowledge becomes available and/or as conditions change.
The products of the Souris Study are tools that can be used in the adaptive management cycle and
for assessing different alternatives and new information on downstream effects of reservoir
management as they become available and important to citizens in the basin.
Adaptive Management Cycle – depicts and highlights the importance of collaboration and institutional arrangements both in terms of the
state of the science and social interactions.
Resources on the Web
The Study Board has resources on its website to help you become more familiar with flooding and water supply issues in the Souris River Basin.
Click on Library on the home page to view:
- PAG Mid-term Report
- A pamphlet on The 1989 International Agreement for Water Supply and Flood Control in the Souris River Basin
- A brochure on the International Souris River Study
- Dams and Reservoirs in the Souris River Basin – a fact sheet
- The Unique Hydrology of the Souris River Basin – a fact sheet
Did you know that study board meetings and other public event are listed on our website? View
these and upcoming public events under Calendar on the home page.
Stay connected. Be involved.
Follow us on Facebook using #sourisriverstudy
IJC [International Joint Commission] Adaptive Management Task Team (2013): Building Collaboration
Across the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River System: An Adaptive Management Plan for Addressing
Extreme Water Levels. Report to the International Joint Commission, May 30, 2013. Accessed on June
2, 2020 at https://ijc.org/en/glam/building-collaboration-across-great-lakes-st-lawrence-river-system.