The province and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) have signed an agreement to continue research at the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA).
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. They will also monitor lake recovery from mercury, commonly found in coal-plant emissions.
The federal government announced in 2012 it would no longer fund the ELA. In September, with the initiative facing closure, the province committed up to $2 million per year, while the Manitoba government agreed to provide $900,000 over six years, to keep it running.
Amendments to federal regulations introduced in February allow for third-party operation of the ELA, making way for the agreement with the IISD, a Winnipeg non-profit organization centred on policy research, analysis and information exchange with a focus on sustainable development.
The ELA, located 50 kilometres southeast of Kenora, encompasses 58 lakes over 27,000 hectares. Since its inception in 1968, has undertaken important freshwater ecology research. In the 1970s, research at the ELA identified that acid rain could lead to freshwater fish deaths.