Press release

World-class scientific facility IISD Experimental Lakes Area continues to grow with second freshwater research season

WINNIPEG—May 14 2015—IISD Experimental Lakes Area (IISD-ELA) is pleased to announce the launch of its second research season, marked by an expansion of its experimental research and a growth in the number of research staff and educational opportunities offered.

May 13, 2015

WINNIPEG—May 14 2015—IISD Experimental Lakes Area (IISD-ELA) is pleased to announce the launch of its second research season, marked by an expansion of its experimental research and a growth in the number of research staff and educational opportunities offered.

IISD-ELA continues its tradition of responding to the most pressing environmental issues that are currently affecting our freshwater supplies by conducting long-term experiments at the facility -  including some innovative work into the effects of nanosilver on aquatic ecosystems, the effects of mercury contamination on water, and the iconic ongoing research at Lake 227 into eutrophication.

The team of researchers at IISD-ELA continues to grow. Eight researchers will be hired for summer positions this year as opposed to four last year. The facility has also hired a post-doctoral fellow, made possible thanks to a generous donation of $1,000,000 from an anonymous donor last year. Educational opportunities at IISD-ELA continue to expand, with another pilot high school field course planned, as well as two university field courses with Lakehead University, Trent University and the University of Manitoba.

The steadfast growth from which IISD-ELA is benefiting could not be possible without the generous support of its donors and funders. “Thanks to all support we have received, this year we’ll have more staff, increased educational and public programming and possibly some new projects, all while continuing our ongoing projects and monitoring” said Matthew McCandless, executive director of IISD-ELA. “It’s an exciting time to be at IISD-ELA because we are exploring new potential partnerships with industry, governments, universities and also Ontario communities near the site, which we see as key stakeholders.”

“There is tremendous opportunity to work on emerging freshwater issues at IISD-ELA and to link science to policy,” said Scott Vaughan, president-CEO of IISD. “One of the reasons people conduct science is to help inform decision-making. Moving into its second year with IISD-ELA, IISD is increasingly seeing the benefits of having a science-based organization work so closely with a policy-based one.”

Referring to research released last year, conducted at IISD-ELA, Dr. Karen Kidd, Canada Research Chair, Canadian Rivers Institute and University of New Brunswick sees IISD-ELA as an invaluable research facility where highly necessary whole-lake experimentation can be carried out. "The collapse of the fathead minnow population after whole-lake additions of the pill was a real eye-opener about how chemicals in municipal wastewaters affect aquatic ecosystems . Not only did we learn that the sustainability of fish is affected by environmental estrogens but also that there can be downstream consequences for the prey and predators through trophic cascades.  No lab study could have ever shown this and it once again demonstrates the value of whole system experiments."

The Experimental Lakes Area, open since 1968 and comprised of 58 freshwater lakes, is a world-class, unique Canadian scientific research facility; 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, media and communications officer, 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.

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