Arts & Life
Canstar Community News
Coronovirus has pressed pause on new research at the Experimental Lakes Area for the 2020 summer season.
The world-renowned freshwater research site, located about 70 kilometres east of Kenora, had scheduled summer research that would look at oil spills and their cleanup, as well as the impact of microplastics and cannabis in freshwater ecosystems. All of that now has been delayed.
The concern of those who run the research site is that with such close quarters — dorm-style accommodations, shared kitchen and transportation methods — social distancing simply wouldn’t be possible.
"What we’ve been doing over the last month is taking a step back and thinking about, ‘OK, what are our goals this year, given (the circumstances)? And how are we going to achieve them?’ What we’ve set out for ourselves, in terms of goals is maintaining the scientific record. This will be the 52nd year of monitoring out at the ELA," said deputy director Pauline Gerrard.
That long-term data set has proved especially important in the study of climate change and the impact on the Boreal forest’s water systems. "It’s really the most in-depth long-term data set on freshwater lakes in the world," Gerrard said.
A rotating team of about seven field researchers will continue to work at the ELA during the summer monitoring the lakes there, but it will be a far cry from the usually-bustling research site and the members of that research team will be subject to new self-isolating protocols before entering the camp. The next priority for that team will then be to monitor research projects that have previously been started and are ongoing.
Sarah Lawrynuik reports on climate change for the Winnipeg Free Press. Funding for the Free Press climate change reporter comes from the Government of Canada through the Local Journalism Initiative.
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