Three young scientists wearing overalls stand in a lake

The world’s freshwater supplies are under serious threat from pollution, climate change, growing populations, and competition over resources.  

IISD Experimental Lakes Area is a natural laboratory made up of 58 lakes in northwestern Ontario on Treaty 3 traditional territory. Since 1968, we have undertaken experiments on real lakes—the only place in the world where this is done—to determine how human activity impacts freshwater ecosystems and what we need to do to protect them. 

researchers experiment on a lake by pouring oil into a netted area
Researchers at the world's freshwater laboratory are experimenting on real lakes to discover the impact of oil spills on fresh water—and how best to clean them up. 

Findings from these real-world experiments are often much more accurate and comprehensive than those from research in laboratories. Those experiments have taught us what causes algal blooms, what effect pharmaceuticals have on ecosystems, and what happens when a pipeline spills oil into fresh water. This allows governments to determine what needs to be done to protect fresh water from those threats. 

There is no other place like it on Earth.

Will you help guarantee the world’s freshwater laboratory will be able to protect our water supplies?

Your gift to the IISD Experimental Lakes Area Fund, held at The Winnipeg Foundation, will be pooled and invested. Each year, the income generated by this fund will be used to fund research into new and emerging threats.  

Group of children examining a fish in a cooler

Your long-term support will ensure researchers can keep tackling emerging threats to one of the most essential elements we need to survive: fresh water. 

You can help to protect our precious fresh water. 

Make a gift to IISD-ELA's Endowment