ijcThe IJC Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed Board began a project this November to develop revised water quality and aquatic ecosystem health objectives and alert levels for the Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed.  The existing objectives and alert levels are outdated and not aligned to current priority issues in the basin.

The objectives developed will form recommendations to Canada and the United States in support of international agreements on water quality or other priority issues in the watershed. 

Alert levels are advisory in nature.  They will be used by the board as trigger levels, to advise governments of potential water quality or ecosystem health problems where there are no internationally-agreed upon objectives.

Over the next year, phase one of the project will engage agency experts and stakeholders to develop a clear definition of the meaning of aquatic ecosystem health, identify priority issues, develop a prioritized list of needs for international objectives and alerts levels, and propose potential measures or indicators. 

A second phase of the project will develop the metrics or indicators for Objectives and Alerts that can be used to report on aquatic ecosystem health status and trends and to make recommendations to our governments.  

The Lake of the Woods Water Sustainability Foundation expects to be actively involved with this project by providing stakeholder input and through the role of its Executive Director, Todd Sellers who co-chairs the IJC watershed board’s aquatic ecosystem health committee.