Press release

Outreach, Dialogue and World-Class Research Central to IISD Experimental Lakes Area’s Second Successful Research Season

December 10, 2015

WINNIPEG—December 10, 2015—4,171 usage days, 528 visitors representing 45 organizations and 12 educational institutions, new and ongoing research across 58 lakes and their watersheds, two university field courses, one high school field course and one visit from a Canadian premier.

These are just some of the statistics and highlights from 2015, the year that IISD Experimental Lakes Area (IISD-ELA) completed its second research season, with continued growth, expansion and new opportunities.

“Our second research season wrapped up at the end of November, and proved to be a great success on the research front, with all of the science objectives met,” said Michael Paterson, Chief Scientist, IISD-ELA. Some of the research included continued study of the effect of nanosilver on freshwater supplies, factors affecting harmful algal blooms and crucial work on the impact of climate change on our water. The whole-ecosystem freshwater research facility in Northwestern Ontario also partnered with the International Institute for Sustainable Development’s (IISD) Water program to compare the uptake of nutrients by cattails in different lakes, and further expanded its fish-tracking project.

But it wasn’t purely about the science. “This was the year that really allowed us to open our doors and invite students, researchers, media, government and the public in to discover for themselves what we are doing and why we are doing it,” said Matthew McCandless, Executive Director of IISD-ELA. “We were so pleased to welcome Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario to the site in late August. It was a great opportunity for us to show her the unique and interactive research that takes place at this world-class facility.”

IISD-ELA’s outreach didn’t stop there, however. In the summer, the site hosted two university courses and a high school field course, giving students a unique hands-on experience and an opportunity to partake in the facility’s science themselves. A tour was planned for members of the Lake of the Woods District Property Owners Association, as were a fall supper and an Elder-Youth Climate Change Dialogue, furthering IISD-ELA’s engagement and dialogues with local First Nations.

IISD Experimental Lakes Area, open since 1968 and comprised of 58 freshwater lakes, is a world-class, unique Canadian scientific research facility, and the only site in the world where whole-lake experimentation (essential for optimal, accurate freshwater research findings) is carried out. On April 2, 2014, IISD, the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada signed three agreements to ensure the long-term existence of the ELA, with IISD as the operator.

For more information, please contact Sumeep Bath at or +1 (204) 958-7740.

About IISD

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an award-winning independent think tank working to accelerate solutions for a stable climate, sustainable resource management, and fair economies. Our work inspires better decisions and sparks meaningful action to help people and the planet thrive. We shine a light on what can be achieved when governments, businesses, non-profits, and communities come together. IISD’s staff of more than 250 experts come from across the globe and from many disciplines. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa, and Toronto, our work affects lives in nearly 100 countries.