OLW Watershed Governance Impact Measure
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Watershed Governance
Impact measure: % of Canada's major 25 watersheds with a mechanism in place to support watershed governance
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Note: The data presented here represent our best research given the time and resources at hand. We acknowledge there may be errors. This shared measurement system belongs to all members of the Our Living Water Network, so if you have any corrections for us, or ideas to share on this measure, please send us an email at info@ourlivingwaters.ca.
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Watershed Governance Mechanism
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WWF Major Watersheds (25)Is there a watershed governance mechanism?
(Y, N or
Portion only)
Watershed Institution or Transboundary Water BoardInterjurisdictional Watershed Agreement or PolicyCommon Vision or Framework for the WatershedCoverage Jurisdictions DateIJC (International Joint Commission) Board - if indicatedDescriptionLinkMap of CoverageFocus (Quality, Quantity, Fish, Benthic Invertebrates)
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1Pacific Coastal (BC)NBritish Columbia
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2Fraser-Lower Mainland Basin (BC)NBritish Columbia
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3Columbia Basin (BC)YColumbia River TreatyWHOLE Columbia River BasinBC, Alberta, and U.S. (Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Washington)1964Agreement between Canada and United States to coordinate flood control and optimize hydroelectric energy production within the Columbia River Basin. Mandated under the Columbia Basin Trust Act, a Columbia Basin Trust was created to manage assets and assist areas most impacted by the Treaty.https://thebasin.ourtrust.org/columbia-river-treaty/https://engage.gov.bc.ca/columbiarivertreaty/the-treaty/Focused on quantity (flow, flood control, hydro energy production)
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International Columbia River Board of Control (IJC)WHOLE Columbia River BasinBC, Alberta, and U.S. (Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Washington)IJC BoardBoard reports on water levels and flows, as well as the effects of Grand Coulee Dam and its reservoir, Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake, on the Columbia River Basin.https://www.ijc.org/en/crbchttps://www.ijc.org/en/crbcFocused on quantity (water levels and flow)
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4Okanagan Basin (BC)YColumbia River TreatyWHOLE Okanagan Basin (included as part of Columbia River Basin)BC and U.S. (Washington)1964Agreement between Canada and United States to coordinate flood control and optimize hydroelectric energy production within the Columbia River Basin. Mandated under the Columbia Basin Trust Act, a Columbia Basin Trust was created to manage assets and assist areas most impacted by the Treaty. [Columbia Basin Trust included in as watershed entity in other OLW impact measure.]https://thebasin.ourtrust.org/columbia-river-treaty/https://engage.gov.bc.ca/columbiarivertreaty/the-treaty/Focused on quantity (flow, flood control, hydro energy production)
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International Columbia River Board of Control (IJC)WHOLE Okanagan Basin (included as part of Columbia River Basin)British Columbia and U.S. (Washington)IJC BoardBoard reports on water levels and flows, as well as the effects of Grand Coulee Dam and its reservoir, Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake, on the Columbia River Basin.https://www.ijc.org/en/crbchttps://www.ijc.org/en/crbcFocused on quantity (water levels and flow)
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International Osoyoos Lake Board of Control (IJC)PORTION ONLY (Osoyoos Lake area)British Columbia, and U.S. (Washington)1946IJC BoardBoard of Control established by the International Joint Commission (IJC) to implement an Order to manage the alteration and operation of Zosel Dam on the Okanagan River below Osoyoos Lake. The Board also issues drought declarations.https://ijc.org/en/olbchttps://ijc.org/en/olbcFocused on quantity
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5Yukon Basin (YK, BC)unknown
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6Peace - Athabasca (BC, AB, SK)unknown
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7Lower Mackenzie (NWT, YK, BC, AB, SK)YMackenzie River Basin Board (MRBB)WHOLE Mackenzie River BasinGovernments of Canada, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories and YukonMRBB established to implement the Mackenzie River Basin Transboundary Waters Master Agreement. Not a regulatory or licensing board. It has no legal or policy basis to regulate resource use within the jurisdictions. However, MRBB may influence regulatory decisions. http://www.mrbb.ca/information/16/index.htmlQuality, quantity and flow, integrity of aquatic ecosystem
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Mackenzie River Basin Transboundary Waters Master AgreementWHOLE Mackenzie River BasinGovernments of Canada, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories and YukonIn effect July 1997Agreement commits all six governments to work together to manage the water resources of the whole Mackenzie River Basin. Sets principles for inter-jurisdictional collaboration and formation of Mackenzie River Basin Board. Makes provision for neighbouring jurisdictions to negotiate bilateral water management agreements to address water issues at jurisdictional boundaries on transboundary streams and to provide parameters on the quality, quantity and flow of water. Guiding principles for cooperative management: equitable utilization, prior consultation, sustainable development, maintenance of ecological integrity.http://www.mrbb.ca/uploads/files/general/19//mackenzie-river-basin-transboundary-waters-master-agreement.pdfQuality, quantity and flow, integrity of aquatic ecosystem
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Alberta-Northwest Territories Mackenzie River Basin Bilateral Water AgreementPORTIONAlberta (AB) and Northwest Territories (NWT)2015Agreement between Alberta and the Northwest Territories pledging to cooperatively manage shared waters within Mackenzie River basin.https://www.enr.gov.nt.ca/en/services/water-management/nwt-alberta-transboundary-water-agreementQuality, quantity and flow, integrity of aquatic ecosystem
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FLOW guidebook on AB-NWT Mackenzie River Basin agreement: https://media.wix.com/ugd/c3d5ce_878883ee3f4843a4a56eb13f553d6c73.pdfQuality, quantity and flow, integrity of aquatic ecosystem
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British Columbia-Yukon Bilateral Water Management AgreementPORTION within BC and YKBritish Columbia and Yukon2017Agreement between British Columbia and Yukon Territory pledging to cooperatively manage shared waters within Mackenzie River basin.https://www.mrbb.ca/uploads/files/general/39//bcyukonbwmafinal-low-res.pdfQuality, quantity and flow, integrity of aquatic ecosystem
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British Columbia - Northwest Territories Bilateral Water Management AgreementPORTION within BC and NWTBritish Columbia and Northwest Territories2015Agreement between British Columbia and Northwest Territories pledging to cooperatively manage shared waters within Mackenzie River basin.https://www.mrbb.ca/information/120/index.htmlQuality, quantity and flow, integrity of aquatic ecosystem
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Yukon-Northwest Territories Bilateral Water Management AgreementPORTION within YK and NWTYukon and Northwest Territories2002Agreement between Yukon and Northwest Territories pledging to cooperatively manage shared waters within Mackenzie River basin.https://www.mrbb.ca/information/82/index.htmlQuality, quantity and flow, integrity of aquatic ecosystem
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Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board (for its role in transboundary water management)PORTION of Mackenzie Valley in NWTGovernment of Northwest Territories, working with bordering provinces British Columbia, Alberta, SaskatchewanUmbrella co-management agency established to integrate NWT land and water board processes and promote consistency across the NWT. This regulatory authority plays a role in managing transboundary issues across neighbouring political boundaries, in addition to managing use of land and water in the Dehcho and South Slave regions (territory in the southern part of the NWT without land claims.https://mvlwb.com/http://www.mvlwb.ca/Registry.aspxFocused on quantity, but also impacts on quality
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8Arctic Coast - Islands (NWT, NU)N
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Prairie Provinces Region covers multiple watersheds across AB, SK, and MB(Watersheds covered highlighted in this green)Prairie Provinces Water Board (PPWB)Prairie Provinces Region (multiple watersheds)Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba and Canada 1948PPWB administers the Prairie Provinces Master Agreement on Apportionment focusing on transboundary water issues in the Prairies. Does not have any legislative enforcement powers, but provides forum to promote interprovincial cooperation and discuss/resolve water issues amongst jurisdictions.http://www.ppwb.ca/information/2/index.htmlhttp://aep.alberta.ca/water/programs-and-services/water-for-life/partnerships/albertas-transboundary-water-agreements/prairie-provinces/default.aspxFocused on quantity, and also quality (added later)
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Prairie Provinces Master Agreement on ApportionmentPrairie Provinces Region (multiple watersheds)Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba and Canada 1969Agreement to apportion (share) water via a formula for interprovincial streams, and water quality concerns.https://www.ppwb.ca/information/79/index.htmlFocused on quantity, and also quality (added later)
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Prairie Provinces Water Board CharterPrairie Provinces RegionSaskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba and Canada 2012Vision for effective transboundary water management on the Prairies.https://www.ppwb.ca/information/78/index.htmlFocused on quantity, and also quality (added later)
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Prairie Water Directive - A Collective call to action for Water Security in the Prairie ProvincesPrairie Provinces RegionSaskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba and Canada 2009Statement of expectations between citizen groups, communities and organizations to collectively and democratically create a platform to advocate for change, participate in decision-making and hold governments accountable for the decisions they take regarding water. https://poliswaterproject.org/files/2007/03/PrairieWaterDirectiveWeb_Final_2009.pdfQuantity and quality
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9Missouri (AB, SK)YPrairie Provinces Water Board (PPWB)Prairie Provinces Master Agreement on ApportionmentPrairie Provinces Region
-- includes Missouri (confirmed)
Alberta and Saskatchewan1969Agreement to apportion (share) water via a formula for interprovincial streams, and water quality concerns.Focused on quantity, and also quality (added later)
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10North Saskatchewan Basin (AB, SK)YPrairie Provinces Water Board (PPWB)Prairie Provinces Master Agreement on ApportionmentPrairie Provinces Region
-- includes North Saskatchewan
Alberta and Saskatchewan1969Agreement to apportion (share) water via a formula for interprovincial streams, and water quality concerns.Focused on quantity, and also quality (added later)
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11South Saskatchewan Basin (AB, SK)YPrairie Provinces Water Board (PPWB)Prairie Provinces Master Agreement on ApportionmentPrairie Provinces Region
-- includes South Saskatchewan
Alberta and Saskatchewan1969Agreement to apportion (share) water via a formula for interprovincial streams, and water quality concerns.Focused on quantity, and also quality (added later)
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14Lower Saskatchewan - Nelson (SK, MB, ON)YPrairie Provinces Water Board (PPWB)Prairie Provinces Master Agreement on ApportionmentPrairie Provinces Region
-- includes Lower Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario1969Agreement to apportion (share) water via a formula for interprovincial streams, and water quality concerns.Focused on quantity, and also quality (added later)
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15Churchill (AB, SK, MB)YPrairie Provinces Water Board (PPWB)Prairie Provinces Master Agreement on ApportionmentPrairie Provinces Region
-- includes Churchill
Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba1969Agreement to apportion (share) water via a formula for interprovincial streams, and water quality concerns.Focused on quantity, and also quality (added later)
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12Assiniboine - Red (SK, MB)YPrairie Provinces Water Board (PPWB)Prairie Provinces Master Agreement on ApportionmentPrairie Provinces Region
-- includes Assiniboine
Saskatchewan and Manitoba1969Agreement to apportion (share) water via a formula for interprovincial streams, and water quality concerns.Focused on quantity, and also quality (added later)
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International Souris River Board (IJC)PORTION (Souris River Basin)Saskatchewan, Manitoba and North Dakota (U.S.)IJC BoardBoard ensures a more eco-systemic approach to transboundary water issues, compliance for the apportionment of river flows, oversight of flood operations, and assists the Commission in preventing and resolving transboundary disputes.https://www.ijc.org/en/srbhttps://www.ijc.org/en/srbFocused on quantity
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Red River Basin Commission (RRBC)PORTION (Red River Basin)Manitoba, Minnesota, and North Dakota (U.S.)Multi-stakeholder non-profit organization facilitating a cooperative approach to water management within the Red River Basin through providing a forum for identifying, developing, and implementing solutions to crossboundary issues. Mandate to initiate a grassroots effort to address land and water issues in a basin-wide context.https://www.redriverbasincommission.org/
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International Red River Board (IJC)PORTION (Red River Basin)Manitoba, Minnesota, and North Dakota (U.S.)IJC BoardBoard monitors activities affecting transboundary flows/flooding, water quality, and ecosystem health in the Red River Basin.
https://www.ijc.org/en/rrbhttps://www.ijc.org/en/rrbFocus on quantity and quality, and ecosystem health.
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13Winnipeg Watershed (MB, ON)YInternational Rainy - Lake of the Woods Watershed Board (IJC)Lake of the Woods / Rainy RiverOntario, small portion in Manitoba, and Minnesota (U.S.)2013 merger of two former boardsIJC BoardAssists with binational coordination of water quality efforts for the entire Rainy Lake transboundary watershed and ensures compliance with regulation of water levels on Rainy Lake and the Namakan Reservoir.https://ijc.org/en/rlwwbhttps://ijc.org/en/rlwwbFocus on quantity
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16Keewatin - Southern Baffin (NU, NWT, MB, SK)N
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17Northern Ontario (ON, MB, QC)N
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18Northern Quebec (QC)N
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19Great Lakes Basin (ON)YGreat Lakes Water Quality BoardWHOLE Great Lakes BasinOntario and Québec along with the eight U.S. Great Lakes states IJC BoardUnder the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (below), the Board provides advice to the International Joint Commission. It is responsible for assessing progress made by Canada and the United States in implementing the Agreement, identifying emerging concerns, and recommending strategies for preventing and addressing Great Lakes issues, and advising on the role jurisdictions play in implementation.https://www.ijc.org/en/wqb/who/mandatehttps://www.ijc.org/en/wqbFocus on quality, also impacts on quantity.
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Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement
WHOLE Great Lakes Basin
Canada and the United States2012Agreement commits Canada and the United States to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Great Lakes Basin through research, cooperative action, and reporting on progress.https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/eccc/migration/main/grandslacs-greatlakes/a1c62826-72be-40db-a545-65ad6fceae92/1094_canada-usa-20glwqa-20_e.pdfhttps://ijc.org/en/what/glwqFocus on quality. Also quantity issues, impacts of climate change, habitat, overall ecosystem health.
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Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem HealthPORTION ONLY (Ontario portion of Great Lakes Basin)Ontario and Canada2014Agreement between Ontario and Canada to deliver on obligations under the Canada-United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement that seeks to restore and protect the integrity of the Great Lakes Basin ecosystem.https://www.ontario.ca/page/canada-ontario-agreement-coa-respecting-great-lakes-basin-ecosystemFocus on quality issues, but relevant to water quantity
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Great Lakes–St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement WHOLE Great Lakes BasinOntario and Québec along with the eight U.S. Great Lakes states 2005Agreement signed to protect, conserve and restore waters of Great Lakes Basin, committing signatories to: ban transfers of water out of the Basin and from one Great Lake watershed to another with strict exceptions; establish water conservation programs; use common standards for water use decision making; strengthen information and science to support sound decisions; and enhance regional oversight and collaboration.https://dr6j45jk9xcmk.cloudfront.net/documents/2700/200040.pdfFocus on quantity issues
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Great Lakes - St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Council (Compact Council - U.S. Only)PORTION of Great Lakes Basin - U.S.U.S. Only - Eight U.S. Great Lakes states (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin)Note: U.S. States Only. Compact Council provides a framework for U.S. Great Lakes states to enact programs and laws protecting the Great Lakes Basin. Governors of the Compact Council coordinate with Ontario and Québec to protect and conserve the Basin through the Great Lakes–St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement noted above.http://www.glslcompactcouncil.org/Agreements.aspxFocus on quantity (water use, conservation and efficiency)
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International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board (also below under St. Lawrence)PORTION (along Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence watersheds)Ontario and United StatesIJC BoardBoard ensures the water flow out of Lake Ontario meets the requirements (see Regulation Plan 2014 noted below), monitors performance, and communicates about water levels and flow to the public. https://www.ijc.org/en/loslrbhttps://www.ijc.org/en/loslrbFocus on quantity (water levels and flow)
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Regulation Plan 2014 for Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence RiverPORTION (Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence portion)Ontario and United States2014New Lake Ontario – St. Lawrence River flow regulation plan (Plan 2014) includes measures to improve ecosystem health and diversity through environmental conditions and coastal protections on the lower St. Lawrence River, below the Moses-Saunders Dam. It allows for more natural variations of water levels to help restore coastal wetlands and improve habitat for fish and wildlife. https://www.ijc.org/en/loslrb/who/abouthttps://www.ijc.org/en/loslrb/who/regulationFocus on quantity (water levels and flow). Also habitat for fish and wildlife.
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International Niagara Board of ControlPORTION (Niagara River portion)Ontario and United States (State of New York)IJC Boardhttps://www.ijc.org/en/nbc
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20Ottawa Watershed (ON, QC)YOttawa River Regulation Planning BoardWHOLE Ottawa River BasinBoard established to ensure integrated management of main reservoirs of Ottawa River Basin. Goal of its integrated management approach is to provide protection against flooding and maintain the interests of the various users particularly in hydro-electric energy production.http://www.ottawariver.ca/http://www.ottawariver.ca/information-brochure.phpFocus on quantity (water levels and flow)
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21St. Lawrence (ON, QC)YCanada-Quebec Agreement on the St. LawrenceWHOLE St. Lawrence RiverCanada and QuebecBegan: 1988
Latest: 2011-2026
Through this Agreement, the governments of Canada and Quebec renewed their commitment to partner in conserving, restoring, and protecting the St. Lawrence River (also see St. Lawrence Action Plan below).http://planstlaurent.qc.ca/en/home/about_us/entente.htmlFocus on quality, quantity, biodiversity, fisheries
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St. Lawrence Action Plan (Plan D'Action Saint-Laurent)WHOLE St. Lawrence RiverCanada and QuebecBegan: 1988
Latest: 2011-2026
The plan commits Canada and Quebec to work together and harmonize efforts to improve water quality, conserve biodiversity, and ensure water is used sustainably along the St. Lawrence River. Various initiatives have been developed to implement the plan including monitoring, modelling, and community participation programs. Integrated water management is one of the key overall goals. The Plan is also known as the Canada–Quebec Agreement on the St. Lawrence (see above).http://planstlaurent.qc.ca/en/background/plusde25ansdecollaboration.htmlFocus on quality, quantity, biodiversity, fisheries
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Great Lakes–St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement WHOLE Great Lakes St. Lawrence River BasinOntario and Québec along with the eight U.S. Great Lakes states 2005Agreement signed to protect, conserve and restore waters of Great Lakes Basin, committing signatories to: ban transfers of water out of the Basin and from one Great Lake watershed to another with strict exceptions; establish water conservation programs; use common standards for water use decision making; strengthen information and science to support sound decisions; and enhance regional oversight and collaboration.https://dr6j45jk9xcmk.cloudfront.net/documents/2700/200040.pdfFocus on quantity issues
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International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board (also above under Great Lakes)WHOLE St. Lawrence RiverOntario, Quebec, and the United StatesIJC BoardBoard ensures the water flow out of Lake Ontario meets the requirements (see Regulation Plan 2014 noted below), monitors performance, and communicates about water levels and flow to the public. https://www.ijc.org/en/loslrbhttps://www.ijc.org/en/loslrbFocus on quantity (water levels and flow)
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Regulation Plan 2014 for Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence RiverWHOLE St. Lawrence RiverOntario and United States2016New Lake Ontario – St. Lawrence River flow regulation plan (Plan 2014) includes measures to improve ecosystem health and diversity through environmental conditions and coastal protections on the lower St. Lawrence River, below the Moses-Saunders Dam. It allows for more natural variations of water levels to help restore coastal wetlands and improve habitat for fish and wildlife. https://www.ijc.org/en/loslrb/who/abouthttps://www.ijc.org/en/loslrb/who/regulationFocus on quantity (water levels and flow). Also habitat for fish and wildlife.
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22North Shore - Gaspé (QC, NFLD)NQuebec and Newfoundland
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23Saint John - St. Croix (NB)Portion onlyPortion only
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International St. Croix River Watershed Board PORTION (St. Croix River watershed along border)New Brunswick and Maine, U.S.2007IJC BoardBoard helps to prevent and resolve disputes along the transboundary waters of the St. Croix River that serves as a border between New Brunswick and the State of Maine. It is responsible for monitoring ecological health and ensuring that four dams comply with the Commission’s Orders of Approval.https://www.ijc.org/en/scrwbhttps://www.ijc.org/en/scrwbFocus on quantity
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St. Croix International Waterway CommissionPORTION (St. Croix River watershed along border)New Brunswick and Maine, U.S.Commission is an international partnership that strives to protect and enhance the health and heritage of the shared St. Croix waterway.http://www.stcroix.org/Focus on human, natural, and recreational heritage resources, international waterway management.
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St. Croix International Waterway Management PlanPORTION (St. Croix River watershed along border)New Brunswick and Maine, U.S.1993Plan to jointly manage shared human, natural and recreational heritage along the St. Croix River (border between New Brunswick and Maine). Also sets management goals for environment and economic development, and management of transboundary waterway.http://www.stcroix.org/what-we-do/management-planFocus on human, natural, and recreational heritage resources, international waterway management.
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24Maritime Coastal (NB, NS, PEI)NAtlantic Provinces: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island)
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25Newfoundland and Labrador Watershed (NFLD, QC)NNewfoundland and Labrador
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Does a watershed governance mechanism exist?
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Yes- the whole watershed or a large portion is coveredY1352%
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Partial watershed is coveredPortion only14%
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No- a small portion or none of the watershed is coveredN936%
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Unknown (data deficient)unknown28%
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TOTAL25100%
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