The Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed Board (IRLWWB or board) completed Phase I of a project to set the foundation for recommending water quality Objectives and Alerts for the basin. As stated in the report, Water Quality Objectives are internationally agreed upon standards, whereas Alert Levels are advisory level triggers that can be brought to the attention of both governments by the International Joint Commission (IJC). The IJC’s IRLWWB is required (IRLWWB Directive) to recommend Water Quality Objectives for boundary waters, to establish Alert Levels in the basin, to identify potential problems for boundary waters, and to report on these and trends in water quality and Aquatic Ecosystem Health in the basin. The report has been prepared for the IRLWWB by a project team contracted by the IJC and the board had the report out for public comment this past fall.
At the present time, Water Quality Objectives and Alert Levels exist only for the Rainy River. The need for Water Quality Objectives and Alert Levels is assessed in the study, to allow reporting on exceedances or trends in water quality and Aquatic Ecosystem Health for the entire watershed.
Phase I of the project identified recommended parameters associated with Water Quality Objectives and Alert Levels for the priority issues in the basin. The individual specific guidelines (e.g. concentrations, loads or other narrative guidelines) associated with proposed Water Quality Objectives and Alert Levels will be established during Phase II, which is set to start up in the near future.