Book cover image for: Border Flows: A Century of the Canadian-American Water Relationship

Border Flows: A Century of the Canadian-American Water Relationship

Edited by Lynne Heasley and Daniel Macfarlane

$34.95 CAD / $34.95 USD

368 pages, 36 illustrations (S)

6 x 9 inches

978-1-55238-895-2 (Paperback)

978-1-55238-897-6 (Institutional PDF)

978-1-55238-898-3 (ePub)

978-1-55238-899-0 (mobi)

November 2016

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About the Book

A collection that traces the century-long effort by Canada and the United States to care for their ecologically shared waters, ranging from the Great Lakes to the Northwest Passage to the Salish Sea.

Declining access to fresh water is one of the twenty-first century’s most pressing environmental and human rights challenges, yet the struggle for water is not a new cause. The 8,800-kilometer border dividing Canada and the United States contains more than 20 percent of the world’s total freshwater resources, and Border Flows traces the century-long effort by Canada and the United States to manage and care for their ecologically and economically shared rivers and lakes.

Ranging across the continent, from the Great Lakes to the Northwest Passage to the Salish Sea, the histories in Border Flows offer critical insights into the historical struggle to care for these vital waters. From multiple perspectives, the book reveals alternative paradigms in water history, law, and policy at scales from the local to the transnational. Students, concerned citizens, and policymakers alike will benefit from the lessons to be found along this critical international border.

About the Editors:

Lynne Heasley is an Associate Professor with the Department of History and the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at Western Michigan University.  Her research examines the intersections and complex problems of ecology, economics, and culture in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence basin.  She is the author of A Thousand Pieces of Paradise: Landscape and Property in the Kickapoo Valley.

Daniel Macfarlane is an Assistant Professor with the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at Western Michigan University. His research examines Canada-US border waters and he is the author of Negotiating a River: Canada, the US, and the Creation of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

With Contributions By: Andrea Charron, Alice Cohen, Dave Dempsey, Jerry Dennis, Colin A.M. Duncan, Matthew Evenden, James W. Feldman, Noah D. Hall, Lynne Heasley, Nancy Langston, Frédéric Lasserre, Daniel Macfarlane, Andrew Marcille, Jeremy Mouat, Emma S. Norman, Peter Starr, Joseph E. Taylor III, and Graeme Wynn

Praise for Border Flows:

A model of its genre

—Jacob A.C. Remes, Canadian Historical Review 

Border Flows demonstrates the value of reaching across ideological and methodological boundaries that divide academic disciplines . . . This book will appeal to students and scholars from a wide variety of academic backgrounds and will serve as an excellent text for courses in legal history, environmental history, foreign relations, and borderlands studies. This edited collection represents a fine addition to the historiography of borders and water.

—Erik Reardon, Canadian Journal of History 

Thoughtful essays by an impressive group of expert contributors . . . record of aquatic environmental history and a source of insights into the future of water, aptly described by the editors as "a fundamental environmental and moral concern of the twenty-first century"

—Jamie Benidickson, University of Ottawa

Reading this book was like taking a boundary waters canoe trip with experienced guides narrating the landscape and humanity’s place in it. They taught me about lakes, fish, and flora; law, politics, and prejudice; photographs, fish-buying, and ice-sailing. In the evening after dinner, around the campfire, these boundary waters guides spoke from their hearts about their love of nature and longing for a just world in the final section of the book entitled “Finding Our Place.” It was inspiring and enjoyable. I heartily recommend the journey.

—Paul Hirt, Arizona State University

These impressive essays penetrate many dualisms—abundance and scarcity, Canada and the U.S., local and regional, science and humanities, and geography and history to name a few. The accomplished authors provide both rich details and expansive views of the transborder territory and illuminate both the shared and dissimilar interests of the two principal political entities, while exposing the mutual concerns that float atop the border-defying and fluid topic of water. Riding the rapids of a tumultuous subject, the contributors make sense of the highly contentious and complex issues for academic and lay readers alike.

— Craig E. Colten, Louisiana State University

Table of Contents

List of Figures

Negotiating Abundance and Scarcity: Introduction to a Fluid Border
Lynne Heasley and Daniel Macfarlane

Part One
Finding the Border: Political Ecologies of Water Governance and Tenure

Openings: Political Ecologies on the Border
Dave Dempsey

A Citizen’s Legal Primer on the Boundary Waters Treaty, International Joint Commission, and Great Lakes Water Management
Noah D. Hall and Peter Starr

Treaties, Wars, and Salish Sea Watersheds: The Constructed Boundaries of Water Governance
Emma S. Norman and Alice Cohen

Contesting the Northwest Passage: Four Far–North Narravies
Andrea Charron

Part Two
Constructing the Border: Hydropolitics, Nationalism, and Maegaprojects

Openings: Transboundary Power Flows
Matthew Evendeen

Quebec’s Water Export Schemes: The Rise and Fall of a Resource Development Idea
Frédéric Lasserre

Engineering a Treaty: The Negotiation of the Columbia River Treaty of 1961/1964< br> Jeremy Mouat

Part Three
Challenging the Border: Ecological Agents of Change

Openings: Border Ecologies in Boundary Waters
James W. Feldman

Lines that Don’t Divide: Telling Tales about Animals, Chemicals, and People in the Salish Sea

Resiliency and Collapse: Lake Trout, Sea Lamprey, and Fisheries Management in Lake Superior
Nancy Langston

Part Four
Reflections in the Water

Openings: The Lakes at Night
Jerry Dennis

Finding Our Place

Jeremy Mouat

Meditations on Ice
Colin A.M. Duncan and Andrew Marcille

Bordering on Significance?
Daniel Macfarlane

To Market, to Market
Joseph E. Taylor III

Leading Waters
Noah D. Hall

On Frames, Perspectives, and Vanishing Points
Lynne Heasley

Headwaters of Hope
Dave Dempsey


Keeping Up the Flow
Graeme Wynn

Further Reading