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Ontario Saves Experimental Lakes Area

Archived News Release

Ontario Saves Experimental Lakes Area

Provincial Investment Ensures Research and Innovation will Continue

Ontario and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) have signed an agreement to continue vital freshwater research at the Experimental Lakes Area -- the only freshwater research facility of its kind in the world.

The agreement means scientists and researchers can begin important work in time for the 2014 field season. Among this year's projects, the IISD, researchers and university scientists plan to:

  • Explore the ecological risks associated with the release of tiny particles called nanomaterials into the environment. For example, nanosilver is used in garment manufacturing to stop bacteria and odour.
  • Monitor lake recovery from mercury, commonly found in coal-plant emissions. Ontario recently closed its last coal-fired energy-generating station, which is producing significant health and environmental benefits for Ontarians.

The Experimental Lakes Area is a world-renowned freshwater research facility in northwestern Ontario. It attracts scientists from around the world who conduct research that informs pollution reduction and climate change strategies, and protection of freshwater ecosystems. This research supports our understanding of the many threats to clean water and how we can protect our lakes and rivers right here in Ontario, across the country and around the world.

Investing in research and innovation is part of the government's economic plan that is creating jobs for today and tomorrow. The comprehensive plan and its six priorities focus on Ontario's greatest strengths -- its people and strategic partnerships.

Quick Facts

  • The Experimental Lakes Area was established in 1968 and is approximately 50 kilometres southeast of Kenora.
  • In the 1970s, research at the Experimental Lakes Area identified that acid rain could lead to freshwater fish deaths.
  • Ontario has committed up to $2 million per year to keep the Experimental Lakes Area open.

Additional Resources


“Ontario has heard concerns from the scientific and academic community regarding the closure of the Experimental Lakes Area. Our government has stepped up to provide the financial support necessary to keep this world-class facility operational, while ensuring the environment is protected.”

David Orazietti

Minister of Natural Resources

“The Experimental Lakes Area has produced break-through research that sounded the alarm on acid rain, algae blooms in lakes, and other environmental challenges. I am pleased that this important work will be able to continue, even though the federal government has withdrawn.”

Jim Bradley

Minister of the Environment

“This agreement opens a fresh, new chapter in the life of the Experimental Lakes Area and the promise of many important and exciting research possibilities ahead of us. The story that real-world research can tell us about the human impact on the natural environment is indispensable in putting our relationship with this planet, on which we ultimately depend for everything, on a sustainable footing.”

Scott Vaughan

president of the International Institute for Sustainable Development

Media Contacts

  • Media calls only: Andrew Donnachie

    Minister’s Office


  • Media calls only: Media Desk

    Communications Services Branch




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