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Financial intervention for the Experimental Lakes Area

Published On: 4/29/2013

Provincial government intervenes on behalf of Experimental Lakes Area

On April 24, 2013, it was announced that the Government of Ontario will help to preserve the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) freshwater field station. This facility was slated for closure in 2013 after funding from the Canadian government was stopped because the facility no longer fit the mission of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. In a recent press conference, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said the Experimental Lakes Area does “extremely important work” and that she is “working with our partners to make sure that work can continue.”

Founded in 1968, ELA has offered scientists the unique opportunity to do applied research on entire freshwater ecosystems. The ELA is located on the Canadian Shield in northwestern Ontario, about 250 km east of Winnipeg. Fifty-eight small lakes and their catchments were managed through a joint agreement between the Governments of Canada and Ontario. The Canadian government announced the ELA closure in May 2012; buildings, including sleeping quarters, have begun to be dismantled in March 2013.

Financial negotiations among the federal government, the provinces of Ontario and Manitoba and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD, the only group interested in managing the ELA) are ongoing. The roles of these governments and organizations have not been determined yet.

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