Boreal Action is a grassroots environment and social justice group.

ELA – To Stay Open

The Boreal Forest Network joins the Coalition to Save the ELA and the Council of Canadians, in celebrating the announcement that the Experimental Lakes Area will remain open, in spite of the federal governments plans to close it, in March, 2013.

Ontario Premier Wynne has announced that Ontario will step up and contribute to the operating costs to keep the cutting edge science research station going in the short and longer term future. The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is at the table as the only entity showing interest in taking over the, previously, federally funded research centre. No details are available about the arrangements, as yet.

BFN and the Council of Canadians recently called on the Ontario, Wynne government, to intervene.

“This is a good step,” said Susanne McCrea, of the Boreal Forest Network, “now the federal government needs to get behind the ELA. This critical water science should remain in the public domain. It’s inexpensive and our governments should cover the costs rather than give it over to any third party.

Fresh water is becoming more precious by the minute. Our own Lake Winnipeg was recently dubbed the most polluted lake in the world.

The Coalition to Save the ELA press release follows

PRESS RELEASE April 24, 2013 (For Immediate Release)

Ontario and IISD pledge to save the Experimental Lakes Area—pressure mounts on Feds to transfer world-class freshwater research centre.

The Coalition to Save ELA, which has been working to prevent the closure of the Experimental Lakes Area federal research facility since May 2012, and garnered much public support in the process, has finally received some good news.

Premiere Kathleen Wynne announced today that Ontario is working collaboratively with the federal government, the Government of Manitoba and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) to keep the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) operational in 2013 and ensure sustained longer-term operations.

“ELA is a facility of extraordinary value to Canadian and international environmental science,” said Dr. David Schindler, U. of Alberta professor, member of the Coalition, and founder of the ELA. “Ontario’s Premier and IISD deserve the thanks of all Canadians for saving it. It is refreshing to see that some elected officials in this country still understand the importance of science.”

Premier Wynne’s commitment to provide operational support is a crucial step towards ELA’s future success. “Ongoing core funding that keeps the doors open is absolutely necessary for attracting outside research funds to run the whole lake experiments.” said Dr. Britt Hall, University of Regina professor and director of the Coalition. “Any funds that Ontario puts into ELA will be a smart investment.”

While the commitment of the Ontario government to the support of the ELA is a crucial step towards a new beginning for the ELA, there are still many other hurdles that will need to be overcome to ensure a successful transition.

For example there are many research plans that are now on hold for this summer. “Our hope is that the federal government will now allow research such as the nanosilver experiment to go forward during this transition period,” said Dr. Jules Blais, President of the Society of Canadian Limnologists.

“Today’s announcement is a big step forward, but the battle for ELA is far from over,” said Diane Orihel, founder of the Coalition. “Scientists have stepped up to the plate by finding a new operator for ELA, IISD has stepped up to the plate as the potential new operator, and now Ontario has stepped up to the plate by committing to work with IISD on a new agreement. So, now the pressure is really on the Federal Government to do their part.”
Carol Kelly, Coalition to Save ELA 
Tel: 250-537-8782, Cell (604) 75402143, Email:

The Coalition to Save ELA is a nonpartisan group of scientists and citizens concerned about the future of Canada’s Experimental Lakes Area. Our mission is to promote awareness and support for the Experimental Lakes Area, and to advocate in the interest of all Canadians for the continuation of this essential research program. Our vision for ELA is as a world-class public research program generating sound, scientific evidence for the development of effective public policy, management strategies, and stewardship activities to ensure the health of Canada’s freshwaters and fisheries.

Website:, Facebook: , Twitter: @SaveTheELA, #SaveELA.

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