Lab Canada

Experimental Lakes Area agreement secures future

Ottawa, ON A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) that will allow the IISD to manage the Experimental Lakes Area.

A Canadian-based, public policy research institute, the IISD champions sustainable development around the world through innovation, partnerships, research and communications.

“I believe that IISD is well-suited to operate the Experimental Lakes Area with excellent capacity, expertise and international reputation to take on this important work,” said Keith Ashfield, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. “We are pleased to have worked with IISD to get to this point and look forward to working with them towards a final agreement.”

“The Experimental Lakes Area complements IISD’s work in freshwater management and, if the Experimental Lakes Area does come to IISD, we would ensure it remains an independent, world-class research facility that continues to produce leading-edge freshwater ecosystems science in the public domain and in the public interest,” said Scott Vaughan, CEO and president of IISD. “IISD has been working with the federal government for several months to get to this point. This is not a finished deal but is an important step, and we look forward to working with Ottawa, Ontario and Manitoba going forward.”

As part of the agreement, Fisheries and Oceans Canada says it will conduct a sampling program over this summer as part of the transition to maintain important scientific research and ensure that long-term data sets can continue uninterrupted. It says it will work with scientists who have active research at the Experimental Lakes Area to support their needs for the upcoming summer research season, including monitoring activities and requirements to access their equipment.

In addition, the department also said it will be undertaking remediation activities at the area this summer, in order to help prepare the facility, watersheds and lakes for future operations under the IISD. Remediation efforts will include removal of cabins at the end of their life cycle, and dismantling left-over infrastructure from previous experiments no longer in use. The lakes themselves require no active remediation. All the planned remediation activities have been discussed with the IISD as well as the Ontario government, which is the landowner.