Parks Canada and Lakehead University Collaborate for Lake Superior research

MOU Signing
Dr. Rodney Hanley,Provost and Vice President (Academic), Lakehead University and (r) Mike Walton, Superintendent, Northern Ontario Field Unit, Parks Canada

THUNDER BAY – Parks Canada and Lakehead University have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which will guide the two organizations in collaborating on research efforts aimed at better understanding the dynamics of Lake Superior’s coastal environment and its watershed. This strategic approach will increase the knowledge of the social and ecological systems that support the vulnerable ecosystems of Lake Superior.

This relationship complements, supports, and advances Parks Canada’s conservation objectives within Pukaskwa National Park and the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area. It facilitates collaboration and exchange between a wide and diverse scientific community and will involve scientific research, data analysis, and program design.

Lake Superior is a globally significant fresh-water lake that contains more than 10 percent of the world’s accessible, potable water. Its biodiversity of flora and fauna, geological features, air-quality, and unique cultural heritage merit proactive management and conservation strategies.

Parks Canada is a world-renowned authority in natural heritage conservation, recently celebrating 100 years of Canada’s national park service (1911-2011). It is an ideal partner in strategic discussions related to scientific research and environmental studies focusing on Lake Superior.

MOU signing
Sitting, from left: Dr. Rodney Hanley Provost and Vice President (Academic), Lakehead University and Mike Walton, Superintendent, Northern Ontario Field Unit, Parks Canada; Standing, from left: Dr. Andrew Dean, Dean of Faculty of Science and Environmental Studies, Lakehead University and Ray Boudreau, Manager, Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area.

Lakehead University, with two campuses in Ontario, has a strong tradition of supporting excellence and innovation in scientific and environmental studies. The Thunder Bay campus is home to the Centre for Northern Forest Ecosystem Research, as well as the North Shore Remedial Action Plan office. It has hosted numerous international conferences and workshops related to Lake Superior and watershed management, including, ‘Improving the Health of Lake Superior’ and a ‘Lake Tourism Conference’. Lakehead University has been represented on the Interim Management Planning Board for the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area since its inception in 2009.

This relationship will contribute to Lakehead University’s vision to become a world leader in research and educational opportunities related to freshwater management, understanding biodiversity, and conservation processes that integrate the vision of northern communities and First Nations.

Through fostering a scientific knowledge community that focuses on Lake Superior, Lakehead’s Faculty of Science and Environmental Studies expects to attract international experts to Thunder Bay, along with increasing enrollment in graduate and undergraduate programs.

Working together, and with others, the long-term vision of this collaboration between Parks Canada and Lakehead University is to establish a framework for identifying research opportunities and sharing scientific knowledge to better understand the socio-economic impacts of Lake Superior on communities along the north shore.

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