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Natural Awakenings

Hands Off: Protecting a Natural Laboratory

Jun 28, 2013 12:00PM

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is working to preserve a tract known as the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA), a world-renowned freshwater research facility in Northwestern Ontario that takes research out of the lab and into the environment, where scientists can isolate the effects of specific pollutants on aquatic ecosystems.

Over the past four decades, research conducted at the ELA has provided scientific evidence of the environmental effects of acid rain, phosphorous and other pollutants that has informed policy around the world. With new pressures like climate change and poorly understood emerging contaminants such as chromite, nanoparticles and endocrine disrupters, the logic for continued support is strong.

IISD President and CEO Scott Vaughan emphasizes the mission is to be an independent, world-class research facility for freshwater ecosystems science, maintained “in the public domain and in the public interest.”

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