The Experimental Lake Area, near Kenora, received a huge investment last week from the provincial government. $9.5 million will go towards vital research in the Experimental Lake Area, which is the only freshwater research facility of its kind in the world.

“The Experimental Lakes Area is the world’s most important freshwater research facility,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry. 

“The area is a living laboratory for critical research and scientific study that sustains healthy ecosystems for future generations. Our government is proud to invest in facilities such as these so that we can expand understanding of the critical changes in ecology over time, and continue our work building Ontario,” added Rickford.

The five-year agreement will ensure the facility can continue its important work, including:

  • Implementation of an acid rain recovery program for the Sudbury region
  • Actions to address phosphorus in inland lakes and the Great Lakes
  • Efforts to address the effects of mercury emissions from coal-fired plants in Ontario and the U.S.

"IISD Experimental Lakes Area is truly Ontario's scientific gem, and we are thrilled to receive this critical support to help us continue to safeguarding the world's freshwater. Collaborating with everyone from local communities to national industries, we're working to discover what impacts the health of freshwater—from microplastics to oil spills—and how we can effectively protect it,” said Matthew McCandless, Executive Director, IISD Experimental Lakes Area

In addition, the ELA received $180,000 through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC).

The funds will go towards producing drawings and cost estimates for a potential new building at the site.

The International Institute for Sustainable Development - ELA is the only place on earth where researchers can experiment on over 50 real lakes and watersheds to discover the long-term impact of human activities within the natural environment.

For the last 53 years, those lakes and researchers have taught us what causes algal blooms; the effects of acid rain, mercury, dams, and oil spills on fresh water, and much more, including tracking a roughly half-degree increase in northwestern Ontario’s temperatures each decade.

Formerly managed by the federal government, the Experimental Lakes Area was transferred to the International Institute for Sustainable Development in 2014, after Ottawa’s funding cuts in 2012. It’s been an ongoing scientific research site since 1968.