Experimental Lakes Area

This page provides a limited sketch of the Harper government’s extremely short-sighted and seemingly vindictive decision to close this world-renowned research facility.

Have a look at the CUSP members’ letter to Prime Minister Harper on this matter.

A 2012 letter-writing campaign by the Kenora ELA Support Group gives an excellent and thorough account of the matter.


Winnipeg Free Press: Provinces being asked to fund Experimental Lakes Area, Dec 20, 2012

The Boreal Forest Network and the Council of Canadians are calling upon the Ontario and Manitoba governments to fund the Experiment’al Lakes. Their open letter concludes:

Sadly our federal government is failing in its responsibility to foster credible scientific research on which to base decisions affecting our water, environment and climate. For this reason we look to your governments to fulfill this critical role. The lakes are located in Ontario and the Freshwater Institute is located in Manitoba. Each province would need to contribute $1 million annually until federal funding is re-instated.
This is an important undertaking for your governments but one for which current and future generations will be significantly indebted to you.

Read the full letter here.


J. G. Hering, D. L. Swackhamer and W. H. Schlesinger, Environmental Science & Technology, 2012, 46 (16), pp 8525–8526: An Unparalleled Scientific Resource Endangered, Aug 13, 2012

In a leading academic journal, internationally-respected scientists express their deep concern about the imminent closure of the Experimental Lakes Area. They conclude: “It is of critical importance that the current threat of closure in 2013 be averted. In a world facing unprecedented effects of global climate change, we can ill afford to abandon a facility that offers the unique combination of long-term monitoring and the capacity for ecosystem-scale experimentation.”

Rick Mercer, CBC Television: Rick’s Rant – Experimental Lakes Area Cuts,
Oct 30, 2012 (2 min)


Michael Harris, iPolitics: The Death of Innocence, Oct 4, 2012

Senior scientists are apparently succumbing to pressure, and trying to find a new operator for ELA at any cost. The PhD student [presumably Diane Orihel] who has led the charge to save ELA and keep it as an unbiased facility, administered by government, has been asked by colleagues and mentors to keep quiet. Harris calls this an act of cowardice posing as pragmatism, of political naiveté and myopic thinking. He sees that power politics is destroying their resolve. Hence his title.

Mia Rabson, Winnipeg Free Press: Feds don’t want ELA closed: Tories, Sept 18, 2012

Melissa Martin, Winnipeg Free Press: ELA program cuts protested at Forks, Sept 17, 2012

Tamara King, Winnipeg Sun: It’s not too late to save Experimental Lakes Area, say scientists, Sept 16, 2012

Brandon Sun: World scientists defend Experimental Lakes Area, Sept 5, 2012


Michael Harris, iPolitics: Harper rethinking myopic decision to close research lakes: Selinger, Jul 27, 2012

Manitoba’s Premier Selinger believes there is a “glimmer of hope” that the decision to close the Experimental Lakes Area is not final. He and his environment minister are leading a “pan-Canadian movement to save the ELA and to help restore Canada’s international reputation as a champion of world-class scientific research.”

Michael Harris, iPolitics: Harper hurts science – again, June 27, 2012

About the closure of Canada’s world-renowned Experimental Lakes Area (ELA). It includes an account of the tearful scene when the Regional Director of Science had to disclose the news to ELA employees; and the incongruous proposal by a leading Winnipeg Conservative that oil companies take over funding of ELA.