KDM: Scientists report on effects of climate change, phosphorous and algae at international forum

Scientists report on effects of climate change, phosphorous and algae at international forum

Reg Clayton
Kenora Daily Miner and News, March 7, 2012.

The impact of climate change and the effects of nutrients and algae on water quality are topics of discussion at the 9th International Lake of the Woods Water Quality Forum in International Falls, March 7-8.

The annual forum is hosted by the Lake of the Woods Water Sustainability Foundation.

Foundation executive director Todd Sellers noted the international conference provides a once a year opportunity for scientists and resource managers from both sides of the international boundary to meet face to face and share the latest information on the Lake of the Woods and Rainy River watershed.

“It’s the annual opportunity for all the scientists and resource managers studying the watershed to report the results of their research and collaborative plans for the future,” Sellers commented Tuesday.

Kenora councillor Ron Lunny is the city’s representative at the forum. He will report back to council on information provided by the scientific committees, particularly on matters relating to water quality and lake levels.

“How does (Lake of the Woods) water quality today compare to 100 years ago? Is it getting better or worse?” related Lunny as examples of questions he is hopeful the scientific community will be able to answer.

The themes of this year’s conference are Nutrients and Algae, Hydrology and Water Quality Modelling as well as a special session on Climate Change Impacts on the Lake of the Woods watershed.

Minnesota scientists will also report on the results of the nutrient monitoring program on Lake of the Woods. The state government has declared the lake an Impaired Water Body due to phosphorous loading in the system, possibly due to agricultural fertilizers in run-off water as well as from municipal and natural sources. The designation requires resource managers to implement remediation plans and reduction limits for phosphorous.

“It’s very important for Ontario and Manitoba to learn of the results and how to cooperate in the cleanup plan,” Sellers said.

Special guest speaker Lana Pollack, chairman of the U.S. Section of the International Joint Commission, will relate developments of the IJC’s January report and recommendations to the governments of Canada and the United States to implement a new governance model for water management on Lake of the Woods.

“We’re waiting for the governments to respond to the report’s recommendations to build and expand on the existing binational management model and pollution controls in place for the Rainy River watershed to include Lake of the Woods,” Sellers said. (Report on Bi-National Water Management of the Lake of the Woods – Rainy River Watershed )

The IJC recommends the two governments form a binational board to develop study plans for nutrients, algae, invasive species and establish a joint program to monitor pollution in Lake of the Woods and the Boundary waters.

rclayton@bowes.com

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