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Researchers to study impact of oil spill in Experimental Lakes Area

Project is one of several funded by the federal government
IISD Experimental Lakes Area (IISD-ELA)
IISD Experimental Lakes Area (IISD-ELA) (

The federal government is funding a study in northwestern Ontario's Experimental Lakes Area that will help determine how fish respond to an oil spill.

A team from Quebec's Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique's (INRS) Eau Terre Environnement Research Centre will conduct the work over a period of four years.

The department of Fisheries and Oceans has awarded the study team $232,000 in funding. The grant is part of $17 million in new funding to support oil spill research across Canada.

According to a government news release, the researchers will conduct a "controlled spill" of diluted bitumen in enclosures in one of the ELA's 58 lakes.

Crude bitumen is a sticky, tar-like form of petroleum which is so thick and heavy that it has to be diluted or heated before it will flow. was unable on Friday to reach a spokesperson for either the research team or the International Institute for Sustainable Development, which manages the ELA.

On its website, INRS says the research centre's work focuses on hydrology; biogeochemistry and contamination issues; geosciences; environmental decontamination and waste reclaiming

Other projects approved this month for federal funding include a study of the toxicity of diluted bitumen on freshwater fish, and an evaluation of the effects of last year's Husky Energy pipeline spill on fish in the North Saskatchewan River.