Water Knows No Boundaries
LCBP Hosts Canadian – US Hydrographic Data Harmonization Workshop
Representatives from the International Joint Commission of Canada and the United States, Environment Canada, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Natural Resources Canada, United States Geologic Survey, and the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service convened at the LCBP this week to begin the critical task of ‘harmonizing’ the fundamental hydrographic data that represents our shared Lake Champlain Drainage Basin.
Over the years, each country has developed its own topographic and hydrographic datasets, using slightly different standards and interpretive approaches. Until recently, basin-level datasets that were at a scale usable by planners and managers stopped at the international border, preventing the seamless joining of hydrographic data and study results. The national datasets for each country that describe watersheds and hydrography do not line up well at the border, so there needed to be a way for agencies on each side of the border to develop accurate and continuous data throughout the border region between the United States and Canada.
This effort is particularly meaningful for our Lake Champlain Basin as the two nations, including the States of Vermont and New York and the Province of Québec continue their work on regional impacts associated with invasive species, water quality and flooding cycles. The goal of this week’s workshop is to solve specific discontinuity problems, resulting in accurate, seamless, and sustainable data upon which informed decisions can be made without an information ‘fault line’ in the border data.
Bill Howland, LCBP Program Manager, welcomed the technical team assembled by the IJC saying, “This project is essential to enable us to better understand and manage Lake Champlain and its watershed as a whole region. We thank the IJC and the governments from each jurisdiction for their ongoing commitment to data integrity across the border.”
For further information about the harmonization project, visit www.ijc.org. Michael Laitta is the GIS Coordinator and Physical Scientist for both the Canadian and U.S. Sections for the International Joint Commission (IJC); e-mail: laittam@Washington.IJC.org.