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Global research possibilities expand as IISD assumes operation of Canada's famed 'Experimental Lakes'

Three agreements announced today involving the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada that together ensure the long-term operation of the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) research facility.

"This opens a fresh, new chapter in the life of the ELA and the promise of many important and exciting research possibilities ahead of us," said Scott Vaughan, President and CEO of IISD. "What real-world research can tell us about the human impact on the natural environment is indispensable to putting the human relationship with this planet on a sustainable footing."

The transfer of ELA required separate deals between Ontario and IISD, between Canada and IISD, and a trilateral Canada-Ontario-IISD agreement to support an open data policy for scientific research. The three agreements involving IISD were preceded by two bilateral Canada-Ontario pacts.

As one of the only whole-lake laboratories available on Earth, the ELA's 58 lakes have attracted scientists studying the impacts of stressors and pollutants from human activity and industrial development on freshwater lakes, streams and surrounding watersheds.

Since 1968, this work has provided the strong scientific evidence required to inform environmental legislation in Canada and worldwide. Findings derived from ELA's unique research opportunities have contributed to the phase-out of harmful phosphorus additives in cleaning products, to tighter air pollution standards in response to acid rain, and to proposed policies to reduce mercury levels found in fish.

"Pressure on water quality is a growing crisis in many countries, and we need science to help chart a course to protect increasingly precious freshwater resources," said Vaughan. "IISD's operation of ELA will ensure that Canada's role at the forefront of freshwater research is not only maintained but flourishes," he said.

Since autumn 2012, IISD

Contact: Sumeep Bath
204-958 7740
International Institute for Sustainable Development

Terry Collins


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