Former Prime Minister and LOWWSF- mentor leaves a legacy of international cooperation to protect Lake of the Woods water quality.

IJC 2004 gray turnerThe Lake of the Woods Water Sustainability Foundation (LOWWSF) and its Directors mourn the loss of the Right Honourable John Napier Turner PC CC QC, former Prime Minister of Canada and LOWWSF supporter and mentor.

Lake of the Woods has lost a great friend and champion for the lake.  Mr. Turner was passionate about water, its importance to Canadians and our responsibilities as citizens to protect it.  He had a special passion for Lake of the Woods and for protecting its water quality.  His determination to bring attention and action to protect the lake water quality led to the formation of the LOWWSF and led to the establishment of the International Joint Commission (IJC) watershed board to coordinate water quality efforts on this binational great lake.

 IJC logo with white space 240The annual public meeting with the International Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed Board will take place "virtually - online" on October 2nd, 2020 at 12:45pm Central Time.  Following the meeting with the Board you are invited to stay online for updates about work underway to address toxic and nuisance algae in the watershed by:

  • the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and
  • Environment and Climate Change Canada

To participate in the virtual public meeting please follow the instructions below. (Please note the virtual platform has been updated to ZOOM. The information has been updated here and through Eventbrite. Please check your calendar to ensure you have the updated link.)

To join online:

Join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 834 6333 5644
Passcode: 613214

You are encouraged to join 15 minutes early to work out any technical issues and to get settled in.
Please note that you can submit questions during the meeting via the chat function. Time will also be made for questions from the phones.

Please find the presentation for tomorrow attached for your reference.
pdf IJC Watershed Board Public Meeting Presentation 01102020.pdf (3.27 MB)
The presentation will be helpful if you can only join by telephone.

To join by telephone:  If you are unable to join using your computer please use the following numbers to call in.

Canada Toll-free: 1 855 703 8985
US Toll-free: 1 833 548 0276

Meeting ID: 834 6333 5644
Passcode: 613214

Or find your local number:

If you need technical help:
If your “work” email encounters firewalls or you encounter other log in challenges, please try logging on with your phone.

If you are having trouble connecting to the virtual meeting using the link provided above or are unable to join using the teleconference line, please email or text Rebecca (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / 819 209 0309) or Chris (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / 902-452-7815) for assistance.

For over a decade, our Foundation has been advocating for a plan for Lake of the Woods – A plan that identifies water quality objectives and reduction targets, particularly for phosphorus, the primary nutrient stimulating algal blooms.

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) will be taking the next step forward towards developing such a plan for Lake of the Woods, based on its science program completed last spring.  ECCC and the Foundation want your help and input  on developing a desired set of ecosystem objectives for the various regions of the lake and recommendations on phosphorus reduction scenarios.

Opportunities for the public to engage and provide input to ECCC through a series of online webinars and an online consultation website will be announced in near future on the Foundation's website and e-news.

Satellite derived estimates of Chlorophyll-a (pigment in algae) across Lake of the Woods, Sept 22, 2020.This is really good stuff -- check it out!  We’ve all seen the compelling satellite pictures of blue green algae blooms covering Lake of the Woods. Now there’s a way for you to see them in near real time and also how they can be used. 

Dr. Caren Binding of ECCC has harnessed these images for near real-time tracking of algae blooms and has developed indices of bloom severity, intensity and extent across the lake. These indices will be extremely useful in monitoring and measuring the effectiveness of efforts to cut phosphorus to reduce harmful algae blooms. 

Dr. Binding has also launched an online tool (ECCC’s EOLakeWatch), that provides a suite of website interactive tools for algal bloom monitoring for Lake of the Woods, Lake Winnipeg and Lake Erie. You can also sign up to receive periodic bloom reports or follow Dr. Binding / EOLakeWatch on Twitter.

Andrew Williams, MSc. candidate, Trent U. measuring stream flow on the Pigeon River.LOWWSF is providing a grant to Trent University researchers working to quantify nutrient (primarily phosphorus) loading from tributaries to Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River from the Canadian portion of the basin.  

The research team, led by Dr. Catherine Eimers, continued this work this summer, with much of the heavy lifting being done by MSc. candidate Andrew Williams.  We expect the results of Andrew’s work to be extremely useful in identifying concrete actions that can be taken to reduce phosphorus loading to Lake of the Woods, to combat the harmful algal blooms. 

Andrew’s thesis research is being supported by the grant from the Lake of the Woods Water Sustainability Foundation to Trent University, with matching funds from Mitacs, a not-for-profit organization that supports training of researchers in Canada.


“Minnesota Health Department researchers in the 1950s had to dig through paper mill waste clogging the Rainy River to find water” (MPCA report wq-ws1-33)The Rainy River is a remarkable story of recovery from pollution.  In decades gone by, pollution from paper mills and raw sewage severely harmed the river, its fish populations and recreational potential.  In August, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency released a report on its multi-year study of the health of the Rainy River

In general, the report finds that the Rainy River is now a high-quality resource in good condition, although is listed as impaired for fish consumption due to elevated mercury in fish, similar to many lakes and rivers in our region.  The report concludes that with restoration successful, it is now critical to protect this river and the streams and landscapes that feed it.

Figure 3 640Bev Clark summarizes Clare Nelligan's PhD research, supported by LOWWSF, that studied the sedimentary record of Whitefish Bay, Cul de Sac Bay and Echo Bay to determine whether:

1) whether water quality has changed in Lake of the Woods embayments that support Lake Trout?

2) are changes observed in the sedimentary record suggestive of a particular environmental stressor?

3) are trends similar between embayments?

Logo with sign upYour help now will ensure that we maintain the momentum for our lake. Sign up at the Foundation’s website to show your support and receive our email updates, including notices of upcoming consultations on ecosystem and phosphorus objectives with Environment and Climate Change Canada. 

Please consider donating to the Foundation  or for U.S. donors requiring a receipt for U.S. tax purposes, see  for U.S. donor instructions.  Your gift will help make sure that Lake of the Woods is a priority with governments, that research is completed and that a sustainability plan is developed and implemented to restore and protect the water quality of Lake of the Woods.