Ottawa, Canada - The International Joint Commission announced today that its International Upper Great Lakes Study Board will expedite its study of the St. Clair River to determine whether there are ongoing channel changes leading to a potential increased conveyance capacity of the channel and whether changes in water levels are the result of natural or human influences. The Study will produce a draft report a full year ahead of schedule by February, 2009, with interim progress reports throughout 2008. A peer reviewed final report on the St. Clair River is expected in June, 2009. Board co-chairs Gene Stakhiv and Ted Yuzyk presented the revised plans in Ottawa this past week that they drafted at the Commission's request. "The Commission understands the urgency of getting answers based on sound science as soon as possible," said Herb Gray, chair of the Canadian Section of the Commission. "The Study Board is to be commended for maintaining the integrity of the scientific process while responding to the need to expedite the study." "Much work is already under way toward answering critical questions about the St. Clair River," said Irene Brooks, acting chair of the United States Section of the Commission. "Answers to these questions will let us increase our focus on the full range of factors that affect water levels and on how regulation of Lake Superior might be improved to take into consideration changing interests and changing climate." Since beginning its field work in April, the Study has already commenced cross-sectional surveys of the St Clair River, bed material sampling, videoing of the river bed and reconnaissance and negotiations for a hydrometric gauging station on the St Clair River. The Commission had also requested that its International Lake Superior Board of Control investigate options to deviate from the existing regulation plan at the outflow between Sault Ontario and Sault Michigan in light of record low water levels. The Commission agreed with the recommendation of the board co-chairs that no deviation from the current plan is advisable.