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Mandate


Pursuant to the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 (Treaty), the International Joint Commission has an ongoing responsibility for assuring that projects it has approved continue to operate in a manner that is consistent with the provisions of the Treaty as interpreted by the Commission and the governments of Canada and the United States (governments). In carrying out this responsibility, the Commission has prepared and submitted to the governments The Upper Lakes Plan of Study for the Review of the Regulation of Outflows from Lake Superior (Plan of Study), dated October, 2005. The Plan of Study describes the work for the Upper Great Lakes system from Lake Superior downstream through Lake Erie required to: examine physical processes and possible ongoing St. Clair River changes and its impacts on levels of Lake Michigan and Huron; review the operation of structures controlling Lake Superior outflow in relation to impacts of such operations on water levels and flows, and consequently affected interests; assess the need for changes in the Orders or regulation plan to meet the contemporary and emerging needs, interests, and preferences for managing the system in a sustainable manner, including under climate change scenarios; and evaluate any options identified to improve the operating rules and criteria governing Lake Superior Outflow regulation. Additionally, depending on the nature and extent of St. Clair River changes and impacts, recommend and evaluate potential remedial options. In reviewing the Order and Regulation plan, and in assessing their impacts on affected interests, the Commission will be seeking to benefit these interests and the system as a whole, consistent with the requirements of the Treaty.

This directive establishes the International Upper Great Lakes Study Board (Study Board). The mandate of the Study Board is to undertake the studies required to provide the Commission with the information it needs to evaluate options for regulating levels and flows in the Upper Great Lakes system in order to benefit affected interests and the system as a whole in a manner that conforms to the requirements of the Treaty, and the Board shall be guided by this mandate in pursuing its studies. These studies include:

  1. examine physical processes and possible ongoing St. Clair River changes and its impacts on levels of Lake Michigan and Huron. Additionally, depending on the nature and extent of St. Clair River changes and impacts, recommend and evaluate potential remedial options;
  2. review the operation of structures controlling Lake Superior outflow in relation to impacts of such operations on water levels and flows, and consequently affected interests;
  3. assess whether changes to the Order or regulation plan are warranted to meet contemporary and emerging needs, interests and preferences for managing the system in a sustainable manner; and
  4. evaluate any options identified to improve the operating rules and criteria governing the system.

 

The Study Board shall provide options and recommendations for the Commission's consideration. In carrying out this mandate, the Study Board is encouraged to integrate as many relevant considerations and perspectives into its work as possible, including those that have not been incorporated to date in assessments of The Upper Great Lakes System regulation, to assure that all significant issues are adequately addressed.

The Commission will appoint an equal number of members from Canada and the United States to the Study Board, and the Commission will name a member from Canada and a member from the United States to be the co-chairs of the Study Board. The co-chairs of the Public Interest Advisory Group will be members of the Study Board. The co-chairs of the Study Board shall convene and preside at meetings of the Study Board and shall jointly take a leadership role in planning and implementing the Study Board's work.

The Study Board, after consultation with Commission, may establish study teams, committees, work groups and other advisory bodies to address the substantive areas identified in the Plan of Study and assist it in carrying out its responsibilities. The Study Board shall normally appoint an equal number of persons from Canada and from the United States to each of these entities. Unless other arrangements are made, members of the Study Board, study teams, committees, work groups and other advisory bodies will make their own arrangements for reimbursement of necessary expenditures. The Commission seeks to ensure the inclusion of appropriate expertise in the membership of its boards, while drawing that expertise from a diversity of sources on a non-discriminatory basis.

An Independent Review Group (IRG) will be established to ensure independent technical review is being conducted and documented on appropriate study components and documents, during the entire study process. The IRG will conduct, as well as manage this independent review. One Canadian and one U.S. representative shall Co-chair the IRG. Within the initial six month study start up period, the IRG Co-chairs, working in consultation with the Study Board Co-chairs and the Commission, shall provide to the Commission for approval the Independent Review Plan (IRP) discussing: timing of reviews, and establishing independent review brief out meetings between study team participants and the IRG; a process for determining what is reviewed; the IRG members to participate; and costs, by activity, to implement the IRP. Study Board Co-chairs are responsible for frequent coordination with the IRG to provide information and materials to the IRG, as well as planning and scheduling meeting between study participants and the IRG. At a minimum, annual reports shall be reviewed by the IRG and written comments shall be provided to Study Board Co-chairs to provide written responses. All IRG members shall have practical experience evaluating multi-purpose water resource studies requiring analysis of trade-offs used for the purposes of public decision making. These members and the IRG Co-chairs shall not have participated in Plan of Study development nor be members of groups that report to the Study Board Co-chairs. In an effort to keep group size manageable, IRG members should be selected from both Countries, though not necessarily needing one for each background category from both countries. IRG members should have backgrounds in economics, hydrology and hydraulics, environmental science, coastal processes, commercial navigation, recreational boating and tourism, water use or plan formulation and evaluation.

The Commission, after consultation with the Study Board, will appoint a co-manager in Canada and a co-manager in the United States to assist the Study Board on a full-time basis in performing the responsibilities assigned to it in this directive. The co-managers shall work under the joint direction of the co-chairs of the Study Board and shall keep fully abreast of the work of the study teams, committees, work groups and other advisory bodies, as well as the Public Interest Advisory Group, which is established pursuant to the Public Participation Terms of Reference Public Interest Advisory Group dated February 7, 2007.

The Commission, after consultation with the Study Board will appoint a co-Senior Communications Advisor in Canada and a Co-Senior Communications Advisor in the United States to assist the Study Board by designing a complete and comprehensive multi-year communications plan for all aspects of the Study, and will be responsible for implementing the communications plan as approved by the Study Board. The Senior Communications Advisors will assist in guiding the Public Interest Advisory Group in its activities and will be ex-officio observers to all meetings of the Public Interest Advisory Group. The Senior Communications Advisors will report to the Study through the Study Board Chairs and will be ex-officio observers to all study meetings (excluding discussions of their own Human Resources).

The Study Board, study teams, committees, work groups and other advisory groups shall act as unitary bodies. The members of the Study Board, the study teams, work groups, other advisory bodies, and the co-managers shall serve the Commission in their personal and professional capacities, and not as representatives of their countries, agencies, organizations, or other affiliations.

The Study Board and the study teams, committees, work groups and other advisory bodies shall endeavor to conduct all their work by consensus. The Study Board shall notify the Commission of any irreconcilable differences and shall refer promptly to the Commission any lack of clarity or precision in instructions or directives received from the Commission.

The Study Board shall carry out its work independent of the work of the International Lake Superior Board of Control (Board of Control), which is responsible for overseeing the regulation of the outflows from Lake Superior pursuant to the Commission'™s 1914 Orders of Approval, and 1979 supplementary orders and shall not take instructions from the Board of Control. The Study Board, however, shall maintain liaison with the Board of Control so that each Board may be aware of any activities of the other that might be useful to it in carrying out its responsibilities.

The Study Board shall keep the Commission fully informed of its progress and direction. The Study Board shall also maintain an awareness of basin-wide activities and conditions and shall inform the Commission about any such activities or conditions that might affect its work. In addition to regular contact with designated Commission personnel, the Study Board shall meet with the Commission at least semi-annually and shall submit written progress reports to the Commission at least three weeks in advance of those times and at other times as deemed appropriate by the Study Board or as requested by the Commission. The end of year 3 progress report shall discuss finding from the evaluation of physical processes and possible ongoing changes in St. Clair River, so the Commission can determine if a reference from governments is required to address this. The Study Board will also maintain such financial and other records as may be necessary to document the contributions of each country to the study effort.

The Commission emphasizes the importance of public outreach, consultation, and participation. In the conduct of its activities, the Study Board shall be guided by the Guidance to the Study Board on Communication and Public Participation dated February 7, 2007. The Commission expects the Study Board to involve the public in its work to the fullest extent possible. The Study Board shall provide the text of media releases to the Secretaries of the Commission prior to their release.

To facilitate public outreach and consultation, the Study Board shall make information related to the study as widely available as practicable, including white papers, data, reports of the Study Board or any of its subgroups, and other materials, as appropriate. The Study Board shall develop and maintain a web-site as a means for disseminating information related to implementation of the Plan of Study, and will use the web-site to encourage public discussion of such information. To the extent practicable, the Study Board shall make available on the web-site all documents that are available for public information under the Commission's Rules of Procedure, including public comment and other information made available by decision pursuant to the Rules of Procedure.

The Study Board shall within one month of its creation submit for the Commission'™s approval a plan laying out activities and work during the six month organizational period, and within six months, a list of work group members and a comprehensive work plan with an associated schedule of activities, products and budget, all based on the Plan of Study.

The Commission will administer, or coordinate, resource contributions from the two governments to support the activities of the Study Board, the study teams, committees, work groups, other advisory bodies, and the Public Interest Advisory Group.