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Great Lakes Article:

IJC public hearings to examine impacts of peaking and ponding in

St. Marys River Date: Fri, 21 Dec 2001 12:36:12 -0500


The International Joint Commission (IJC) will hold public hearings in  Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario to gather  information about the impacts of peaking and ponding operations in  the St. Marys River.

Peaking and ponding operations are carried out by the Edison Sault  Electric Company and Great Lakes Power Limited to store water during  times of off-peak demand and increase hydroelectric power generation  during times of on-peak demand. Peaking is the variation of hourly  flows within the daily average flow while ponding is the variation of  daily flows within the weekly average flow (i.e. higher weekday flows  and lower weekend flows).

The two power entities are authorized to use water from the St. Marys  River by the IJC's Orders of Approval, which contain provisions to  protect interests in both countries that may be affected by changes  in natural water levels and flows. Outflows from Lake Superior are  set on a monthly basis by the IJC-approved regulation plan, Plan  1977A, under the oversight of the IJC's International Lake Superior Board of Control.

The current low water situation, and recent inquiries concerning  navigation and environmental impacts, have drawn the IJC's attention  to the conduct of peaking and ponding operations in the St. Marys  River. The IJC has advised the power entities that the IJC's Orders  of Approval, as amended, and Plan 1977A, do not authorize deviations  from the monthly regulation-plan flow, and do not authorize peaking  and ponding operations. Nevertheless, the IJC has provided temporary  authority to the power entities to conduct peaking and ponding  operations until March 20, 2002, under the supervision of the

International Lake Superior Board of Control.

The IJC has asked its International Lake Superior Board of Control to  review the current situation and recommend whether peaking and  ponding operations in the St. Marys River should continue, and if so,  under what circumstances. The public hearings are intended to provide  information that may be useful to the Board in preparing its report.

Public hearings will take place at the following times and locations:

3:00 p.m., January 28, 2001

Walker Cisler Center Lake Ontario Room Lake Superior University Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

7:00 p.m., January 28, 2001

Holiday Inn Waterfront Room: Thompson A & B 208 St. Mary's River Dr. Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

The IJC also intends to provide a public briefing in the Sault Ste.  Marie area after it has received the report of its International Lake  Superior Board of Control and made a decision with regard to peaking  and ponding.

The International Joint Commission is an international organization  established by the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 to prevent and  resolve disputes over the use of waters shared by the United States  and Canada. More information is available on the IJC's website at:


Frank Bevacqua Washington (202) 736-9024 Fabien Lengellé Ottawa (613) 995-0088

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