The International Institute for Sustainable Development-Experimental Lakes Area (IISD-ELA) has received more than $2 million in provincial funding to continue valuable research into freshwater ecosystems.
Of the funding, announced on May 21, up to $2 million will be provided to support ongoing, multi-year research projects.
Another $30,000 will be used to hire an architectural firm to complete a detailed design and cost estimate for the construction of a new water science education and training centre.
It will replace the current outdated facility, allowing the institute to continue providing and developing initiatives such as the Experimental Lakes Area Student Experience high school program and a field biology program run in partnership with Lakehead University.
The new centre will also help expand outreach and collaboration with northwestern Ontario communities and First Nations, as well as increase ecotourism opportunities.
"The IISD Experimental Lakes Area is extremely grateful for this continued support from the Government of Ontario," said Jane McDonald, interim president and CEO at the IISD, in the release.
“As we extend beyond our 50th anniversary, we continue to track emerging threats to freshwater head on, with new and exciting research on oil spills, acid rain, pharmaceuticals, microplastics, algal blooms, environmental DNA and much more."
Located east of Kenora, the ELA is a world-renowned freshwater research facility consisting of 58 small lakes and their watersheds, which were set aside in the 1960s for scientific research.
The ELA narrowly escaped closure in 2013, after the Conservative government of the time announced it would shutter the research area, citing budget cuts to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
As part of the effort to restore the ELA to full operating capacity, it merged with the IISD in 2014.