The First Century of the International Joint Commission

Co-edited by myself and Murray Clamen, The First Century of the International Joint Commission was published in January 2020. It is available for purchase from the University of Calgary Press, but is also Open and Acces and can be downloaded for free hereI took the cover photo during a helicopter ride over Niagara Falls.

About the Book

An essential introduction to, and overview of, the International Joint Commission and Canada-U.S. water relationships.

The International Joint Commission oversees and protects the shared waters of Canada and the United States. Created by the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909, it is one of the world’s oldest international environmental bodies. A pioneering piece of transborder water governance, the IJC has been integral to the modern Canada-United States relationship.

This is the definitive history of the International Joint Commission. Separating myth from reality and uncovering the historical evolution of the IJC from its inception to its present, this collection features an impressive interdisciplinary group of scholars and practitioners. Examining the many aspects of border waters from east to west The First Century of the International Joint Commission traces the three major periods of the IJC, detailing its early focus on water flow, its middle period of growth and increasing politicization, and its modern emphasis on ecosystems.

Informative, detailed, and fascinating, The First Century of the International Joint Commission is essential reading for academics, contemporary policy makers, governments, and all those interested in sustainability, climate change, pollution, and resiliency along the Canada-US Border.

Murray Clamen is an affiliate professor in the Department of Bioresource Engineering at McGill University. He has over 30 years of combined experience in integrated water resource management with the International Joint Commission and Environment Canada

Daniel Macfarlane is an associate professor in the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at Western Michigan University. He is the author of Negotiating a River, which won the Champlain Society’s Floyd S. Chalmers Award.

With Contributions By:  Jamie Benidickson, Norm Brandson, Murray Clamen, Meredith Denning, Frank Ettawageshick, Timothy Heinmiller, Carolyn Jones, James Kenny, John Kirton, Gail Krantzberg, Daniel Macfarlane, Richard Moy, Don Munton, Emma Norman, Kim Richard Nossal, Jonathan O’Riordan, Alan Olson, Ralph Pentland, Jennifer Read, Owen Temby, Deborah VanNijnatten, Brittaney Warren, David Whorley, and Ted Yucyk

Praise for The First Century of the International Joint Commission

This book will be the standard introduction to the IJC.

—Kurk Dorsey, professor and chair, Department of History, University of New Hampshire

This is one of the most valuable contributions to the study of Canadian-American relations in several decades.

—Peter Stoett, dean, Faculty of Social Science and Humanities, University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Table of Contents


Section 1: Beginnings

From IWC to BWT: Canada-U.S. Institution Building, 1902-1909
David Whorley

Construction of a Keystone: How Local Concerns and International Geopolitics Created the First Water Management Mechanisms on the Canada-U.S. Border
Meredith Denning

Section 2: From Coast to Coast

The IJC And Water Quality in the Bacterial Age
Jamie Benidickson

The Boundary Waters Treaty and the International Joint Commission in the St. Mary-Milk Basin
B. Timothy Heinmiller

The International Joint Commission and Hydro-Power Development on the Northeastern Borderlands, 1945-70
James Kenny

A Square Peg: The Lessons of the Point Roberts Reference, 1971–1977
Kim Richard Nossal

The IJC and Mid-Continent Water Issues: The Garrison Diversion, Red River, Devils Lake, and NAWSP
Norm Brandson & Al Olson

The IJC’s Unique and Colorful Role in Three Projects in the Pacific Northwest
Richard Moy & Jonathan O’Riordan

Section 3:Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Basin

The IJC and Great Lakes Water Levels
Murray Clamen & Daniel Macfarlane

The IJC and Air Pollution: A Tale of Two Cases
Owen Temby & Don Munton

Origin of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement: Concepts and Structures
Jennifer Read

The Great Lakes Remedial Action Plan Program: A Historical and Contemporary Description and Analysis
Gail Krantzberg

The IJC and the Evolution of the GLWQA: Accountability, Progress Reporting, and Measuring Performance
Deborah VanNijnatten & Carolyn Johns

Section 4: Legacies

From “Stakeholder to Rights Holder”: Re-examining the Role of Indigenous Peoples in The International Joint Commission as the Third Sovereign
Frank Ettawageshik & Emma Norman

The Boundary Waters Treaty, International Joint Commission, and Evolution of Transboundary Environmental Law and Governance
Noah D. Hall, A. Dan Tarlock & Marcia Valiante

The Importance of the IJC
John Kirton & Brittaney Warren

The International Joint Commission: Continually Evolving Approaches to Conflict Resolution
Ralph Pentland & Ted R. Yuzyk

Murray Clamen & Daniel Macfarlane