Ottawa and Washington – The International Joint Commission (IJC) submitted its recommendations to the Canadian and United States’ governments about the reduction of risks and potential solutions to flooding in the Lake Champlain-Richelieu River basin.

After over five years of extensive research, collaboration and engagement efforts, the International Lake Champlain-Richelieu River Study Board (Board) submitted its final report to the IJC in August 2022. The report investigates the causes, impacts, risks and potential solutions to flooding in the Lake Champlain-Richelieu River basin shared between Quebec, Vermont and New York.

Following a consultation period that included public hearings in the fall of 2022, the IJC approved all recommendations made by the Board in its final report and informed both governments in December 2022. The IJC is confident that the study recommendations are concrete and actionable.

In its letter, the IJC emphasizes some important study highlights such as:

  • Viable options developed to reduce future flooding;
  • Improved flood forecasting modelling system in the Lake Champlain-Richelieu River basin; and,
  • New tools for simulating flooding and flood impacts in the basin.

Concrete action by governments with respect to the recommendations is important in light of the serious risk of future flooding intensified by climate change. The IJC is requesting that governments endorse and implement all study recommendations and that implementation be made in a timely manner.

The IJC remains committed to supporting both governments by assisting in the development of plans to deliver on each recommendation and with implementation thereafter.

“I want to, once again, commend the Board for its professionalism, rigor, and dedication throughout the study and for providing clear recommendations to the IJC and both governments. The research and science generated throughout the study is a legacy that will be useful to basin residents, partners and stakeholders for years to come.” – Pierre Béland, Commissioner and Canadian Chair

“During the public comment period, basin residents, Indigenous communities and stakeholders made it clear to IJC Commissioners that they expect swift actions from governments. The IJC is confident that the recommendations are concrete and actionable which will help reduce future flood risks and build resilience in the basin.” – Rob Sisson, Commissioner and Acting United States Chair

Quick Facts

  • In 2016, the IJC established the International Lake Champlain-Richelieu River Study Board to undertake a study of the causes and impacts of the 2011 flooding and make recommendations to mitigate future flood risks in the basin as per the Reference received from the United States and Canadian governments under Article IX of the Boundary Waters Treaty.
  • The Board submitted its final report and recommendations to the IJC in August 2022.
  • Starting in March 2023, data and products, including tools, models and maps generated by the Study Board will be made public.
  • The U.S. and Canadian governments’ investments in the Reference study totaled close to $14 million (CAD/USD), which makes it one of the most significant commitments to an IJC study in recent years.
  • The Board’s work was a highly collaborative effort by over 100 professionals from the U.S. and Canada, including contributions from Indigenous communities, federal agencies, the states of New York and Vermont, the Province of Quebec, and many other entities and organizations.
  • The IJC gathered public feedback on the Board’s study recommendations during a public comment period from August 19 to October 14, 2022 that included in-person and virtual hearings.
  • The IJC approved all recommendations made by the Board in its final report and is requesting that the Canadian and U.S. governments endorse and implement all recommendations directed to them.

Cover image: View of the Richelieu Valley, Québec. Credit: Shutterstock (CNW Group/International Joint Commission)


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