News

IISD Assumes Management of Experimental Lakes Area

iisd_logo1 April 2014: The Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) have signed agreements to ensure the continued operation of the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) research facility. The ELA is a unique, whole-lake laboratory, with 58 lakes used for scientific study of stressors and pollutants on freshwater lakes and watersheds.

Work at the ELA began in 1968 and research has contributed to policies to phase-out phosphorous additives in cleaning products, tighten standards on acid rain causing air pollutants, and decrease mercury levels in fish. IISD entered negotiations in 2012 with the province of Ontario and the Government of Canada to keep the ELA open under IISD management. IISD President Scott Vaughn emphasized that “together, IISD and ELA will be positioned to offer ground-truthed, policy-relevant advice on numerous emerging questions such as the impact of mercury from coal-fired electricity generating plants, the impact of micro-pollutants and the impact of climate change on hydrologic cycles.”

As next steps, IISD will begin preparing a new science research programme for the ELA, with input from scientists and partnerships. Among new opportunities, the programme may expand into training, workshops and field courses to educate local communities and benefit the broader scientific community. IISD is already in discussions to expand collaboration with universities in Canada and the US. [IISD Press Release]