American and Swiss scientists have come to the defence of the apparently-doomed Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) near Kenora.
In a new viewpoint article published in a leading scientific journal, Swiss and American scientists express their deep concern about the imminent closure of a unique freshwater research facility. The Experimental Lakes Area is world-class institution for understanding global threats to freshwater lakes, but the Canadian government is cancelling this program next year.
The viewpoint article was written by internationally-respected scientists. Janet Hering, Deborah Swackhamer, and William Schlesinger, and published in the top-ranking environmental science journal ‘Environmental Science & Technology’.
The Experimental Lakes Area consists of 58 pristine lakes and their watersheds in Ontario dedicated to whole-ecosystem research. The authors explain that there is "no other facility in the world that allows for the study of physical, chemical, and biological processes in whole-lake ecosystems at this order of magnitude".
Further, the authors emphasize that ELA has generated "policy-relevant science that has had major impact on political decision-making in the environmental arena for nearly four decades". The authors warn that "we can ill afford to abandon" this essential program.
"Closing ELA is a travesty - we will have lost forever so much future scientific understanding of our environment" exclaimed Swackhamer, Professor of Public Affairs and Public Health and Co-Director of the Water Resources Center at the University of Minnesota.
Editor-in-Chief of ‘Environmental Science & Technology’, Dr. Jerald Schnoor, explained why he chose to publish the article: "Aldo Leopold once said that the first rule of a tinkerer is to never throw away any parts. That is exactly what Canada has accomplished by performing research on whole lake ecosystems in the ELA. Three world-renowned scientists in Hering, Swackhamer, and Schlesinger have written an elegant plea to save the ELA, and ES&T was grateful to publish it."
The new article by Dr. Hering and colleagues is available electronically at: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/es3030512