Lake Futures – Enhancing Adaptive Capacity and Resilience of Lakes and their Watersheds

(Sponsor: Global Water Futures/Canada First Research Excellence Fund)

Canada possesses a huge number of lakes, both large and small, that play a crucial role in water supply, food production, resource extraction, hydropower generation, transportation, recreation, biodiversity and climate regulation. However, despite such water wealth, climate change, agricultural intensification, shoreline development and urbanization are exerting mounting pressures on the health and ecosystem services of lakes, and their associated social and economic benefits. Because many of the environmental stressors affecting lake ecosystems originate in the surrounding watersheds, long-term management strategies and governance models must embrace the lake basin in its entirety.

The Lake Futures project aims to deliver adaptive watershed and lake management solutions that minimize trade-offs between lake ecosystems, water uses, and economic growth. Lake Futures focuses on the causes, impacts and mitigation of the re-eutrophication of the lower Great Lakes. Objectives include:

  1. creating and applying basin-scale, coupled lake-watershed models to predict nutrient dynamics from headwaters to offshore waters;
  2. developing complementary environmental, biological and economic indicators to measure the vulnerability, resilience, degradation and recovery of lake ecosystems; and
  3. assessing management options designed to counter water quality deterioration and abate algal blooms under changing climate and land-use scenarios. Lake Futures will yield science-based decision-making processes and tools to inform targeted, and thus more cost-effective, long-term strategies to protect water security along the watershed-lake continuum.

Collaborating institutions: University of Waterloo (Nandita Basu, PI), Brock University, McMaster University, Wilfrid Laurier University

Visit the Lake Futures website for further information.