Just as our fresh water flows across borders, our work stretches across nation and sectors.
IISD can influence how we manage fresh water like no other think tank on earth, because we create scientific understanding of fresh water at our very own freshwater science facility, which then informs the policy recommendations developed by our team of policy analysts.
In other words, we truly bridge science and policy.
First the science.
IISD Experimental Lakes Area is the world’s freshwater laboratory.
A series of 58 lakes and their watersheds in northwestern Ontario, Canada, IISD-ELA is the only place in the world where scientists can experiment on and manipulate real lakes to build a more accurate and complete picture of what human activity is doing to freshwater lakes. The findings from its over 50 years of ground-breaking research have rewritten environmental policy around the world—from mitigating algal blooms to reducing how much mercury gets into our waterways—and aim to keep fresh water clean around the world for generations to come.
Then comes the policy.
We then take those scientific findings, and develop policy and programming solutions for governments, civil society, and industry that protect and enhance the natural environment, keep our fresh water clean, while also improving socioeconomic well-being.
We conduct economic analyses and hydrologic assessments so that governments best understand all the options before making final decisions. And we support the management of watersheds across national boundaries, bringing all the relevant sectors and stakeholders to the table.
IISD Experimental Lakes Area
We are the world’s freshwater laboratory—the only place in the world where scientists can manipulate real lakes to understand what human activity does to fresh water.
Scientists from Two Continents Working Together to Improve the Health of the African Great Lakes
World-class scientists and researchers from across North America and Africa are putting their heads together to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing the African Great Lakes today.
Floating Treatment Wetlands: Keeping our fresh water clean and healthy
This short, engaging storybook takes you through what Floating Treatment Wetlands are, and how they could really help us keep bodies of fresh water clean and healthy.
How to Protect Fresh Water from Oil Spills
This episode looks at what freshwater scientists are trying to accomplish by spilling oil into a remote lake and the unusual solution they've found to help clean up future oil spills.
Is It Raining Plastic?
We need more research to understand the effects of microplastics on our fresh water—and find solutions. That's where our team of experts come in.
Sustainable Development Goal 6 - Clean Water & Sanitation
We are working towards the sixth UN Sustainable Development Goal to "ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all"
Our work in the news
Why UN World Data Forum matters to Canada - The Hill Times
"Thanks to the power of artificial intelligence, data also now allow us to 'model' better than ever—providing us with detailed and accurate blueprints of where, say, Canada’s fresh water is headed, set against the backdrops of climate change and ever-increasing pollution."
Silver particles in consumer goods found to harm fish in Ontario lake study - The Globe and Mail
"Microscopic silver particles that are added as an antimicrobial agent to athletic clothing, condoms and yoga mats, among many other products, have been shown to harm fish and freshwater ecosystems when released in quantities that are similar to what is thought to be emerging from wastewater plants across Canada."
How the invisible powers of sound shape our lives and world - CBC
"Scientists at the ELA have been doing whole-ecosystem freshwater research for half a century, including one unconventional study that started with a bang. Researchers wanted to know what impact the hunt for oil and other natural resources was having on fish. "
Lake Winnipeg ‘aquahacking’ contest to announce winning proposal Tuesday - Global TV
"A nine-month-long competition tasking young people on the prairies with solving environmental problems facing Lake Winnipeg is about to declare a winner."
Food Web Biologist
Field Sampling Technician, IISD-ELA
Deputy Director, IISD-ELA and Corporate Secretary
Policy Advisor – Data and Technology
Research Chemist, IISD-ELA
Fisheries Research Biologist, IISD-ELA
Research Scientist, IISD-ELA
Senior Biologist, IISD-ELA
Senior Director, Fresh Water & Executive Director, IISD-ELA
Head Research Scientist, IISD-ELA
Senior Research Scientist, IISD-ELA
Research Fellow, IISD-ELA
Director, Water Management
Biologist - Field Coordinator, IISD-ELA
Environmental Technician, IISD-ELA
Lakebound to Homebound: IISD Experimental Lakes Area Annual Report 2019-2020
This year, the world's freshwater laboratory's annual report is inspired by hours under lockdown and years of Canadian summers at the cabin (or cottage).
The Underexposed Effects of Climate Change on Groundwater
Both groundwater quantity and quality are being affected by extended periods of droughts and floods caused by extreme weather events.
Nanosilver: What action needs to be taken to protect Canadians from this emerging contaminant?
We explore exactly why we need to be worried about nanosilver and what Canada needs to do about it to protect our fresh water.
Why the UN World Data Forum Matters to Canada
Thanks to the power of AI, we can 'model' better than ever—data gives us detailed and accurate blueprints of how Canada's fresh water is affected by climate change and pollution.
Young Manitobans Win $20,000 to Save Lake Winnipeg
Particuleye Technologies has won the Aquahacking Lake Winnipeg 2020 Challenge
Lake Winnipeg ‘aquahacking’ contest to announce winning proposal Tuesday
A nine-month-long competition tasking young people on the prairies with solving environmental problems facing Lake Winnipeg is about to declare a winner.
Silver particles in consumer goods found to harm fish in Ontario lake study
Microscopic silver particles that are added as an antimicrobial agent to athletic clothing, condoms and yoga mats, among other products, have been shown to harm fish and freshwater.
You might also be interested in
Technology and Innovation
When it comes to achieving a sustainable future for all, we cannot merely rely on tried-and-tested formulas. We need to think outside the box and get innovative.
Sustainable Development Goals
This global agenda aims to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.
Infrastructure is the backbone of sustainable development and a powerful driver of economic activity.