International study board to look into operation of Souris River flood control

An international study board has been created to look into the operation of Canadian dams and other flood protection measures that have impact along the Souris River and in Minot.

The International Joint Commission appointed the International Souris River Study Board and issued a directive to investigate flooding and water supply issues in the Souris River basin. The study was requested by the governments of Canada and the United States.

The governments asked the commission to coordinate the completion of the full scope of the IJC’s 2013 Plan of Study. It asked the commission to evaluate and make recommendations regarding the operating plan that is included in the 1989 International Agreement between the U.S. and Canada. Among other things, the agreement coordinates the operation of dams and reservoirs in the basin.

The study will examine the hydrology of the basin and make recommendations to reduce flooding and water supply risks. It may address additional flood protection measures beyond those contained in the 1989 agreement.

The study will also facilitate the collaboration among various federal, state, provincial and local agencies, the public and Native American tribes, First Nations, and Metis located within the basin. Subject to the availability of adequate funding, the IJC is to report to the two federal governments within three years.

Leadership on the board comes from Dr. Alain Pietroniro, Canadian co-chair with Meteorological Service of Canada, National Hydrology Research Centre; Col. Samuel Calkins, U.S. co-chair with the Army Corps of Engineers; Jeff Woodward, Canadian alternate co-chair with Hydrological Operations and Engineering Services North and West, Environment and Climate Change Canada; and Rebecca Seal-Soileau, U.S. alternate co-chair with the Army Corps of Engineers.

Other U.S. members are Tim Fay and Gregg Wiche, both with the N.D. State Water Commission; Megan Estep, Colorado, with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; and David O-Connell of Lansford. Canadian members are Bruce Davidson with Environment Canada; John Fahlman of Water Security Agency, Saskatchewan; Mark Lee of Conservation and Water Stewardship, Manitoba; and Debbie McMechan, municipal representative from Pierson, Manitoba.

Wiche and and Davidson will serve as study board managers.