8ijcboardRainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed Board meets with IJC Commissioners. Pictured (l-r) Charlene Mason, U.S. public member; Greg Chapman, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry; Mike Goffin, Canadian Co-Chair / Environment and Climate Change Canada; Colonel Samuel Calkins, U.S. Co-Chair / Army Corps of Engineers; Todd Sellers, Canada public member; Scott Jutilia, U.S. Co-secreatry / Army Corps of EngineersAlgae blooms during late summer and fall on Lake of the Woods remain a concern that was highlighted by the Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed Board at it's meetings with IJC Commissioners in Ottawa, October 25, 2017.

The view from space is compelling with blue green algae blooms widespread across the southern basin  - "the Big Traverse" beginning in early summer.  By fall, blooms covered most of the lake including in the middle channel and north central basin around Kenora.  Blooms persisted well into late October.

Algae and nutrients conditions in Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River were the main focus of the Board's Aquatic Ecosystem Health Report.  The report also includes information on other areas of aquatic ecosystem health including on fisheries, fish consumption advisories and aquatic invasive species.  Todd Sellers, Foundation Executive Director and Co-Chair of the IJC Board's Aquatic Ecosystem Health Committed presented a summary of the report to the IJC Commissioners, highlighting concerns that nutrients and algae in Lake of the Woods continue to exceed Minnesota's standards and Ontario's Interim Provincial Water Quality Objective, major tributaries to the Rainy River exceed the IJC Alert Level for phosphorus, and growing concerns about aquatic invasive species, including the spread of zebra mussels in headwaters in the watershed. 

Charlene Mason, public member of the Board presented an update on the Board's public outreach and engagement activities, highlighting the Board's public meeting in the basin in August, enhancements to the Board's website and the work of the Board's Citizen Advisory Group.  Scott Jutilia, U.S. Secretary of the Board provided reports from the Water Levels Committee that deals with water levels on Rainy and Namakan Lake and on the status of the Rainy-Namakan Rule Curve Review