The Knowledge to Act


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

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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 the International Institute for Sustainable Development

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an independent think tank that delivers the knowledge to act. Our mission is to promote human development and environmental sustainability. Our big-picture view allows us to address the root causes of some of the greatest challenges facing our planet today – ecological destruction, social exclusion, unfair laws and economic and social rules, a changing climate. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa, Toronto and New York, our work impacts lives in nearly 100 countries.

For more information, please contact: or +1 (204) 958 7700 ext. 706