The Knowledge to Act


This is How the World's Freshwater Laboratory is Responding to COVID-19

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You’ve heard it so many times in so many ways these past few weeks, but these are unprecedented times.

Over our 52-year history, the world’s freshwater laboratory has weathered many changes and welcomed many new eras; this global pandemic is no exception.

Our priority is always safeguarding the health of our dedicated team of employees, research partners, and guests. To that end, nearly all our staff are now working from home and practicing physical distancing. All non-essential activity at IISD-ELA, including educational programs and public visits, are suspended until the end of May.

Through very careful planning, we were able to successfully complete winter-sampling of the lakes—a critical step in ensuring we maintain our 52-year unbroken dataset on everything from the temperature and ice depth to the chemistry and fish populations of our lakes.

As we look toward our usually lively summer research season, we want to maintain that dataset. To make this happen, we are tracking the COVID-19 situation in real time and actively exploring all avenues to keep our unique approach to freshwater science going, while guaranteeing our community’s safety.

Many of the partner organizations with whom we conduct our research, such as universities, have already implemented travel bans that will preclude their staff and students from visiting the site this summer. We anticipate more will soon follow.

Amidst the current uncertainty, one thing you can count on in the months ahead is for us to keep you up-to-date on our latest news and decisions, as well as what COVID-19 might mean for our freshwater supplies. Stay tuned to our website, our Facebook page, our Twitter account and our Instagram feed.

And if you're looking for ways to make sure you're protecting freshwater supplies while at home, find some quick and easy tips here.

Stay healthy and stay connected.

- The IISD Experimental Lakes Area team

About the International Institute for Sustainable Development

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an independent think tank that delivers the knowledge to act. Our mission is to promote human development and environmental sustainability. Our big-picture view allows us to address the root causes of some of the greatest challenges facing our planet today – ecological destruction, social exclusion, unfair laws and economic and social rules, a changing climate. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa and Toronto, our work impacts lives in nearly 100 countries.

For more information, please contact: or +1 (613) 238 2296 ext. 114