March 11, 2021

Madeline Stanley: The International Institute of Sustainable Development

Madeline Stanley: The International Institute of Sustainable Development

3%. Of all the water on earth, just 3% is freshwater. Madeline Stanley is a Project Officer with the International Institute of Sustainable Development and she is pursuing her Ph.D. at the University of Manitoba doing her part to ensure that 3% of freshwater remains as pure and clean as possible. Headquartered in Winnipeg, the IISD is an award-winning independent think tank working to fulfill a bold commitment: to create a world where people and the planet thrive.
In this episode, Madeline shares her research at the Experimental Lakes Area, located on Treaty 3 Land where she works to connect science to policy on fresh water-related challenges.
Recommendations from Madeline 
(Documentaries about Water on Netflix)
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3%. Of all the water on earth, just 3% is freshwater. Madeline Stanley is a Project Officer with the International Institute of Sustainable Development and she is pursuing her Ph.D. at the University of Manitoba doing her part to ensure that 3% of freshwater remains as pure and clean as possible. Headquartered in Winnipeg, the IISD is an award-winning independent think tank working to fulfill a bold commitment: to create a world where people and the planet thrive. In this episode, Madeline shares her research at the Experimental Lakes Area, located on Treaty 3 Land where she works to connect science to policy on fresh water-related challenges. Recommendations from Madeline  (Documentaries about Water on Netflix) See for privacy information. See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at


This podcast was recorded on the ancestral lands on Treaty One territory, the traditional territory of the Anishnawbe, Cree, Oji Cree, Dakota, and the Dene peoples, and on the homeland of the Métis nation.

This is Humans, On Rights. A podcast advocating for the education of human rights.

Here's your host Stuart Murray.

Three Percent of all the water on earth, just 3% is fresh water.

On this program.

The local expert studying and doing research On that 3% is Madeline Stanley.

Madeline Welcome to Humans on rights.

Thank you so much Stewart for having me today.

I feel very fortunate to be here and talking about about water in a place that has so much of it.

Okay, And I just want to just let everybody know that you are a project officer with the International Institute for Sustainable Development Water Program where you're working to connect science to policy on water related challenges.

You're an expert in wetland ecology and biological science and you're currently pursuing a PhD in biosystems engineering locally here at the University of Manitoba, studying the use of floating wetlands to remediate oil spills in freshwater shorelines.

Let's start at the beginning.

The place to where you work.

The International Institute for Sustainable Development or it shortened down to the I I.



Give us an overview of what is the I.



When was it established and what is the mandate?

So the International Institute for Sustainable Development is an independent think tank here in in Winnipeg.

It's it's headquartered here, but we're also all across the globe.

We were established in 1990 in Canada and we began publishing the Earth Propotiations Bulletin in 1992.

So we're an independent think tank and we're championing sustainable solutions for the 21st century problems.

The overall mission of the work with I.



Is to promote human development and environmental sustainability And we do this through research and analysis and knowledge products that really supports sound policy making.

So we have a core focus areas of climate resources, economies act together and engage creating this, create.

And we also have five programs of economic law and policy, energy resilience tracking progress and water.

And as you mentioned, I work for the water program.

So the I.



Experimental Lakes area was originally created as a response to the growing concern surrounding algal blooms on great Lakes.

And this was a particular concern for Lake Erie.

In 1966.

The Fresh Water Institute was established in Winnipeg by the Fisheries Research Board of Canada.

They appointed Jack valentine as director and Wally johnson as head scientists to address the problem of eutrophication.

Eutrophication is essentially the excess nutrients that are received in waterways that dr harmful algal blooms.

And we do experience that here in Manitoba, particularly in Lake Winnipeg, where we experience these very large algal blooms every single year.

Typically people see them on the edges of beaches.

Um And it's also often, you know, from um discussed in in newspaper articles every single year.

This continuous problem that we've been experiencing Madeline, is that sometimes where people would say that maybe you shouldn't be swimming in some of these beaches.

Is that is that a cause of that?

Or is that something different in terms of recreation?

There are concerns for some of the harmful algal blooms because there are toxins that can be produced by this type of algae and they might have recreational swimming bands or beach closures that might be a result of this drinking water advisories also for your pets and livestock.

That's also of course the concern but that's kind of the human interaction.

So it definitely can have a large impact on recreation, which, you know, beaches around Manitoba are often used for.

So it can be quite a big impact communities around around those areas as well.

And I just want to come back to one thing is just that I think it's important to really sort of put a pin in the fact that you are a local Manitoba, you're doing your study here locally at the University of Manitoba and you're working for an organization that is I also headquartered, I think I'm right about that in Winnipeg, but that you have an international reach.

Tell us a little bit about how is it that you came, There's not you, but this Institute for international sustainable Development, established in Winnipeg have international reach on the importance of the work that it's doing well in terms of of, of water?

I'll speak to that because that's where my expertise lie there.

There's there's freshwater problems all around the world.

And the work that we do at the Experimental Lakes area has international significance of our understanding of a changing climate, that's not something unique to here.

Um We experienced climate change all around the world.

There is increase of industry everywhere.

We're seeing those pollutants entering the waterway.

So having a facility that understands research and really dives into the causes and changes in the environment allows us to understand how to actually target those solutions in order to implement them.

And one case example I'll use around algal blooms.

As I mentioned again, one of the largest studies and longest running experiments at the ice.

The experimental lakes area is the unification study or the alcohol study on the addition of nutrients to those lakes.

And the results from this work actually had huge international and policy impact which actually resulted in the reduction of the removal of phosphates from detergents and soaps which are we're a large concern for introducing phosphorus into them.

So the great thing about working with the I.



And the SD experimental lakes area is the ability to communicate collaborate with industries and share that information to drive policy change and two him drive decision making.

So as an example again, talking about something that's happening here locally that had an impact on something with a far broader reach.

Something international that had to deal with removing.

Wasn't removing for what's from the laundry detergent.

What did you, what was it removed?

It removes like phosphorus compounds.

So phosphates.

Yeah, so phosphorus is like that is the kind of mainstream that drives these harmful algal blooms.

There's been a lot of studies that look at the carbon, carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus compounds within them.

And it was identified based on work that was conducted at the experimental lakes area, that phosphorus was indeed the driver of this and that that was the targeted compound that you know, should be managed.

And that's something that we still have a challenge with here in Manitoba.

Our wastewater introduces phosphorus.

We've got land runoff from agriculture and other industrial practices and I will speak to this.

But I think this is something that everyone kind of deals with is that phosphorus still is a challenge and yet we know it's a challenge, but we still are dealing with it.

Well, I think that it's important to uh reinforce really again Madeline that I know that your focus is on water.

There's a team of people that you talk about that are involved with the International Institute for Sustainable Development here in Winnipeg.

But again, the the reach that it has and the importance it has, I think is really worth noting.

And that yes, there's still issues to be dealt with.

But the leadership that's happening with the team that's involved in this I think is is something that is is really worth mentioning.

I happen to go onto your website, the website for the International Institute for Sustainable Development, great website.

And I would uh you know, anybody that's listening to this go on to that.

I mean, even the things like the the video fly over that you can sort of see the camp.

I mean first and foremost, is that spectacular, beautifully scenery or what it is?

I am so fortunate to be able to have that opportunity to work in such a beautiful place.

You know, one of the great things that that that happens at the I I S.

D is that you are looking at the studies that you do, that you're involved in policy.

But what you're trying to do is always connect the science to the policy and I think that that's something that's really important.

And I wonder if you could just speak about that, It is very essential to connect the research that we're doing to policy and decision making.

Otherwise there'd really be no purpose doing it just for curiosity.

So, the work that we do is really try to take these 21st century challenges, as I mentioned, and looking for solutions and looking for ways to make decisions that really is driven by our understanding of these systems and to do that we need to do science or research on those systems.

We take that knowledge, we take our, you know experts and we are able to synthesize that and understand how to develop solutions and how we should be managing the systems.

Were able to, you know, translate that information from this kind of, you know, scientific jargon I'll say and turn it into something that's approachable and comprehensive in order to make sound decisions.

And I think that that pathway is really important in terms of translating the work that we do also, I'll just mention the tagline for I S.

D is you know, part scientist, part strategist, I sc delivers the knowledge to act and I think I've been thinking about this a lot the last you know, few days I've been talking about developing this podcast but the concept of knowledge to act is is really that kind of connection that bridge to order to make those actions and to make decisions.

We need to understand our systems and I'll use water here, we need to understand water in order to effectively do so, so I think everything kind of overlapping here.

But yeah, What I think is so incredible is that again, you know, I want to keep coming back to kind of this 3%, you know, madeleine that that was when I started to do a little bit of reading about this, that that kind of really was had a huge impact on me 3%.

But what I think is also important and interesting is that you say, that you know the freshwater that is around the world.

So the issues that you're talking about that is the issue of taking science and looking at connecting science to policy to strategy.

You know, it's, it's worldwide, it's not just as you say, it's not a Canadian issue, it's not an american, United States issue or north american issue, it is worldwide and again, I think to be involved in something that you know, that is happening here locally, but that has an impact internationally.

Must be amazing sort of sense of, of accomplishment and a sense of pride.


And I think that from from just even looking at the history of the I S D E L A, I've seen a lot of the amazing impact that it has had and the scientists and the researchers that I've been able to be involved in the work that they've done.

It's incredible.

And the reach that has had the collaborations that have been developed over time, it it honestly blows my mind and this is maybe me being still, you know, young in my career and learning a lot.

But I feel so fortunate that I'm able to work in a facility so close to home that has this kind of range of impact and the ability to, you know, have these collaborations and also have that connection to industry to have those larger impacts and communication of the works.


It is amazing.

And the fact your local, you'll be able to sort of pursue your career here I think is as you said, it's it's really quite quite spectacular At the beginning.

We talked about the ISD and the experimental lake area having I think you said 58.


Yes there's 58 lakes.

And are they all sort of in the same area?

Madeleine are they sort of when I say connected?

I'm not sure that is the right word from your perspective but are they kind of in the same area?


So maybe I'll just kind of come back to a bit of the history of of of the L.


As well.

So I had talked a little bit about how the Fresh Water Institute was established here in the 19 sixties and the 1968.

That's essentially when the experimental lakes area opened.

And this was actually in partnership by government of Canada and Ontario.

So they basically selected a region of land and water that designated as that region.

And yes, those 58 lakes are within kind of a region.

Some of them are, you know, right beside that road that we access but some of them require, you know, a few portage is a few voting.

Um but it is all in the same region is a designated research facility.

So I think you talked about earlier the drone flyover which is just so beautiful.

But that is our central field station.

So we have all of our laboratories, all of our residences and that road that we come in on you.

If you look at a map you can see all the all the lakes that are kind of scattered around the area that are designated as as that facility I mentioned.

The experimental lakes area was opened in 1968.

The leader of the experimental lakes investigations was Dr.

David Schindler and he held that position until 1989.

And I just would like to say that we were very saddened to hear of his passing last week on March four and he really does leave the legacy of the experimental lakes area and the work that has been done um for for so many people here.

Yeah, thanks for mentioning that.

Um And I just would like to quickly mention that you know, it was started with the with the government was the kind of leader of the of the L.



But in 2014 it assumed it was assumed control by the I.



So now becoming the eyes the Experimental lakes area and it was under three new agreements to ensure the facility had long term operation.

So I said earlier was started in 1968.

So we've been conducting whole ecosystem experiments for over 50 years, which is you know, pretty incredible to be able to do that.

And we're now continuing to respond to the threats of world's freshwater and converting those findings into you know, sounded an effective policy.

So again, bridging that science science to policy opportunity which is which is one of the great opportunities with the the I.



And L.


Kind of joining.

Yeah, I know and that that's a that's a great explanation and a great background on that Madeline.

Thank you so much for that.

You know, the one thing that we had talked about prior to two hitting the record button today from a human rights perspective, water is not only human right, but perhaps is taken for granted, much like the air we breathe.

So knowing again that March 22 is recognized as world water day, how important is that day?

And what does it mean to you as someone who studies freshwater?

So this is a great question.

As you mentioned, we chatted briefly about this before and I've actually thought a lot about this this last week and my connection to water.

So from a human rights perspective, water is absolutely a human right.

It kind of goes without saying.

And from our conversation of my thoughts with this, I've just been reviewing some of the work from the sustainable development goals and um water and there was there was a note that I was saying that water is a human right and not a commodity and I think that that is something that is so clear to many people, but like you said, people take it for granted and don't really realize and maybe that's a function of just people not being connected to water, understanding where that water comes from and where goes, but again thinking about the U.


Water and sustainable development goals, it's all about kind of everyone should be able to have access to safe and affordable water and whether it's clean water for consumption or for sanitation, not everybody has this and this isn't this isn't a problem that is only in certain countries.

We experienced that here in Canada and also in Manitoba, there are people who have you know, don't have access to drinking water and they don't have safe recreational water to have.

And and I think that your comment about taking things for granted, I think That it's so easy to forget when you're able to flick on that tap and clean water comes out that is safe.

I think there's some level of disconnect for some people who have that.

And then you also mentioned world water day.

So on March 22 every year there's world water day um and every year there's a different theme and these kinds of themes or initiatives can promote discussions and webinars and there's tons of communication across the globe but to talk about these problems that everybody shares and it's a great opportunity to actually just listen and learn and share something.

Um And like we talked about four challenges that we experience here in Canada are different but not not totally different from other countries all around the world, so it's a great opportunity to do that and these themes can focus on relationships with humans and access to water, as you mentioned ecology and pollutants and solutions and the last few years I'll just kind of highlight some things before I get into this year's theme, which I think is so relevant were water and climate change in 2020 leaving no one behind in 2019 and Nature for Water, which is looking at nature based solutions in 2018, but this year's theme, which I think is really, really great, is valuing water and this is essentially to promote the conversation of what water means to you and I've been thinking about this a lot and kind of your question on how important the state is.

Somebody used to face fresh water of course right there, like I study freshwater, it's my education and interest and it drives what I do every single day and obviously it goes without saying that water and this ability to discuss and communicate, it is excellent and I really appreciate it, but I also feel like I've had so much opportunity to be connected to water in different ways rather than just like in this studying or work capacity, I grew up here in Winnipeg Manitoba has so much fresh water, it doesn't take very long to find some if you you know either walk anywhere in Winnipeg or have, you know, the means of transportation?

Um, so growing up near water, I just, I just feel very drawn to it very connected to it.

So on a personal level the ability to have fresh water for various purposes is really important.

It's hard, it's kind of hard to explain actually how what what it kind of means to me.

I've been thinking about it a lot and I've been struggling kind of putting it to words honestly, because you know, the value of water isn't an economic perspective.

It it's different for every single person, Is it for your safety and helpful of course, is it for recreation?

It's educational for many people has cultural significance and there's a lot of religious or spiritual practices with water or you know, relationships with water and there's also that connection to the environment.

So I don't know if I can say specifically the specific words, if that makes sense.

It totally makes sense.

And I mean, I, you know, I just, I know I don't know you well Madeline, I've read some of your, some of the work you're doing just listening to you, you're incredibly passionate about it for for the right reasons and that just comes through uh in in flying colors here.

And I guess that, you know the thing about it is and I'm not sure if, you know, from your perspective, you're so interested in studying freshwater as a child or some growing up, was there something that that triggered your interest or is there something that you looked at and said, you know, I'm concerned if we don't do something that maybe this water that we take for granted there could be, there could be issues.

Is it, did you have a, something that kind of triggered that for you?

Yeah, I actually, I was actually thinking about that this week as well and I think that it was great to talk to you initially because it brought up a lot of questions for myself about how did I get here essentially?

Like how did I end up in this position?

And I again, I will say I'm very fortunate to be able to go and see fresh water in and have a cottage to go to.

My family has a cottage on Lake Winnipeg.

And I grew up on the lake pretty much in the water all the time.

But then I also remember being a kid coming out and you wash awaiting students screen.

Like it's so green and I was always so curious about that.

And I remember in high school we had to write this paper and for some reason I really wanted to write it on alcohol.

Um so that was what I wanted to write about on Lake Winnipeg, so near and dear to my heart and I did and I loved it, I loved researching it and I was learning about the, you know, the research boats that go on the lake and you know monitor the water.

And it was just this complete sell for me.

But to be honest, even from that point it didn't seem like it was something I could do like I didn't really know.

And I went I went to university, I thought I was going to chemistry degree.

I found out too that that was not the path for me and I ended up going into this ecology program and I decided I wanted to do an honors thesis.

And because I loved the research, I knew that I liked it.

I started kind of looking at professors and figuring out who might what I want to take on this research with.

And I met my then unknown person but now very close person to me is dr Gordon Goldsborough who had their kind of description of algae and water quality and wetlands.

And I knew instantly like this is what I want to do.

And I remember meeting with with them and talking about what I wanted.

And it kind of just felt like it just started like after I started having that conversation, I just felt like it felt really right, felt like what I wanted to do.

And it was almost like instantly that I became involved in research and that's just kind of the way it started and the way it continued to go and then now I'm here working with I S.


And I'm now doing my PhD and it just seems that I'm continuing to kind of grow in this field and learning so much every single day and blown away.

It's a fascination because I think most of us who have had the chance to you know grow up as kids and whether you go to the beach or if you're fortunate enough to have a cottage and you go swimming, you know inevitably, you know at some point it's fish flies, we've got to deal with the fish flies, you know, they all of a sudden the earliest fish flies.

But then you see the the LJ that comes and people wonder, you know, where is that coming from, what does it mean and what does it look like?

And so for you to sort of look at that and say, you know, it's just something I want to learn about and be involved with and then to have the I.



Here, you know, that's that's really really amazing Madeline.

If it's okay with you, what I'd love to do is start to talk into a little bit about now, what you're doing as an example, one of the areas that I saw and I came across this word that you are involved in using an adaptive monitoring project and I wonder if you might sort of walk us into what is that, what's the value, why do we need that, what how does it serve its purpose and and let's let's explore that a little bit because that's something you specifically are involved in.

Yeah, absolutely.

So I'll take a bit of a step back here kind of thinking about water across Canada, what are locally, um it's at a threat.

We see a changing climate, we see pollution from industries, we see it changing over time in order to monitor it or or to understand that we need to we need to monitor, we need to have that knowledge and this is again, kind of in order to act and make decisions, we need to understand what's going on.

So kind of again, that bridging science to policy or science to decision making concept in order to understand how things have changed where we are currently and where we're going.

We need to see it, we need to monitor and get that data and and have those interpretations to do that.

So there's lots of monitoring programs all across Canada and the world and locally that can be run federally or provincially.

And there's also a lot of organizations and local groups such as just monitoring as well.

And the thing that I'd like to know is that everybody everywhere is always limited by some sort of logistical capacity.

And this is something that I talked about in that blog that you read on watching the water, but this can be limited by trained personnel who are able to go out and collect that information space and time.

Obviously there's water everywhere.

And if you want to monitor you need to have the time to get there, the space it takes to get there.

So those are some of the limitations.

And then finances and budgets always seem to limit everybody in every sort of style of life.

So, and unfortunately because of limitations and these things, we may have gaps and we may have, you know, we're getting as much knowledge as we can, but sometimes there are gaps of knowledge in order to make those decisions.

We need, we need that knowledge and we need that information.

There was some watershed reports that came out by WWF Canada, which were essentially to look and assess the threat and overall health of watersheds in Canada.

And they kind of synthesize all the information and looked at these sub watersheds and were able to identify, you know, how healthy the region was.

And unfortunately a lot of those watersheds didn't even have enough information to identify whether it was threatened or to assess the overall health.

And that's pretty shocking because here in Canada, we have so much fresh water and we have amazing scientists and yet that we still have this kind of lack of knowledge.

And what year was that?

Yeah, fairly recent?


In the last kind of few years these reports came out.

So it's nothing from decades ago and it's it's it's recent enough.

And and just kind of shocking honestly that we don't have that information because we have these excellent programs.

We have programs that monitor water and why can't we bridge this knowledge and why can't we generate enough of it to understand the state of our watersheds.

And this kind of came onto this concept of this adaptive monitoring as you said.

So it's not a new concept, it's not something that's like very shiny but it's kind of should be considered as an adapting or iterative process to adjust monitoring and management in order to kind of create decisions and and the the importance of that I think also is we experience like a changing climate and we experience different pollutions and that changes over time.

So that means we should be monitoring as new things are arising if that makes sense.

So this is super important about making decisions because we may never have enough data but we're gonna have to start making decisions that we want to make sure that we're sustaining water and making sure that it's here, you know now and also for future generations to come.

So this kind of process is is very cyclical.

So the concept might be you start with a design of a program you might monitor, then you analyze that monitoring then that might drive decisions and then you implement those decisions but then you might come back full circle and learn something from that and then adjust its adaptive as you're kind of working through it.

But you're you're generating knowledge and you're kind of creating this big picture over time and you're able to kind of collect all this information in different forms.

It doesn't have to be that standard monitoring that we you know, know so well it can be all these different forms of data to kind of synthesize this really great picture.

And I think one of the things that's super interesting is what I've seen in the last few years is what kind of the availability of us kind of collecting information.

How that's changed is I mean everyone has experienced this personally, we have now everyone has a smartphone in their pocket.

So technology has just boomed and we've seen this massive growth and technology, people are taking photos, there's satellites in the sky, there's more tech organizations and I think what's really interesting is that, you know, this isn't just about going and collecting a water sample, it's about you know, being very collaborative.

So this opportunity for this adaptive process isn't to replace existing monitoring programs to collaborate.

So it can be through, you know, integrating community based monitoring programs which is like a community led initiative.

We do have a community based modeling program here and that which is like Winnipeg communities monitoring network.

We also have like Winnipeg data stream which is like a platform and open open data platform for all of the data.

Um so we're able to have people involved in this sort of thing and kind of fill those gaps as well.

There's researchers and the universities that are collecting this information, There's growth in these smaller organizations and tech groups that, you know, we work closely with in order to kind of help bridge those technology kind of concepts and help us monitor um, there's satellites that that record these images of the earth and that also tells us a lot about what's going on.

And the thing that, you know, we'll talk a bit about more today is just about real time sensors and higher frequency capacity and how we've been able to kind of grow in this field, which I think was what I mostly spoke about in terms of that blog on watching the water that you had to some extent madeleine what's fascinating is you talk about, you know, everybody has a cell phone in their pocket.

In other words, everybody is using technology.

And there's always this concept, I think out there that technology is sort of this disruptor.

You know, you can use technology as this disruptor and you're really looking and talking about how technology is being used to sort of in a very positive way, but to, you know, be a disruptor of kind of how things have just been taken for granted.

Nobody's been looking into it, nobody has been tracking it, nobody's been getting sort of baseline information for it.

And so now you're bringing that all back so that, you know on a shared basis on a collaborative basis that you're starting to be able to sort of get some of this baseline that starts to allow you to come back to what the I.



Is all about, which is you know, collecting the science and creating policy and strategy around that.

Yeah, absolutely.

And this, like you said, it's just we have seen science change over the last 100 years, for example, we've seen it grow, we've seen you know, these amazing opportunities develop and the way that we analyze things.

We've also seen technology grow and and we should kind of collaborate, I should say because that seems to be the thing that I'm always, you know, highlighting and pushing is the ability to collaborate.

This is not one challenge that any one person should take on.

We have the ability to work together to kind of create this really Nice team to tackle these really large 21st century challenges that we have.

Like you said tech is kind of seen as a disruptor but like let's use it to our advantage and fill those gaps.

It can be anywhere from a photo or the ability to to create an app and detect and write down information.

All that information is so valuable.

It doesn't have to be like I said the most standard classic spreadsheet of data.

All information, whether it's shared, you know on different platforms or different ways is incredibly valuable, especially if we don't have enough of it as is to kind of create this picture.

So, you know, pulling everything in is like something that we should use to our advantage.

You know, the notion of you know, having a smartphone in your pocket while you're in a boat trying to get information.

You know, it's great to get the information from the water.

Don't drop the phone in the water.

Let's talk a little bit about the aqua Hive telemetry.

Now again, talk about technology again, I looked up a little bit about that but I'd love you to tell us about what is that?

How does it work?

Who invented it and how are you using that?

You know, I had highlighted earlier the need for real time sensors or higher frequency.

So part of that were kind of Included the deployment of almost a pilot test system on at one of the experimental lakes, which is like 2-7, which is probably one of the most studied lakes at the experimental lakes area.

It's been studied for probably over 50 years.

Pretty incredible.

But the Aqua Hive is a telemetry platform.

So we basically deployed this platform on the lake.

It's attached to a sensor so the sensor hangs in the water column.

It's able to we had it recording hourly water quality data, that sensor them.

So it's recording that information.

But the aqua have telemetry platform allows that data to be recorded by the sensor, It takes that data transmitted set to satellite and then back to our computer.

So it's very it has this low latency ability and what that means.

It has the ability to record and transmit data from the sensor in the lake to our screens on a computer with little to no time delay.

And that's super, super valuable because with covid especially this last year we have to be in the safety of our homes are our ability to get access to the site was very limited.

So us being able to deploy that sensor and yet still monitor how the sites or how the lake was doing and responding over the season is an incredible opportunity to be able to have that the platform itself, the aqua hive is built here locally in Pinola Manitoba by aquatic life limited.

So we worked with them to kind of create what we were looking for, what kind of parameters we wanted and we picked it up and we deployed it and they helped us get it all set up and we're able to monitor the lakes effectively and safely from our homes.

And the other thing I just wanted to to ask you Madeline as you mentioned lake 2-7, which you said has really been highly researched what does 2-7 stand for and you know, most people sort of say, well, you Know that should be the Madeleine Stanley Lake, you know, it should have a name, you know?

But you talk about these 58 lakes that you that are involved in the experimental lakes, are these all numbered?

And just give me a history about, what is that about?

Yeah, so there's actually, excellency speaking of blogs, there's an excellent blog on the site that actually talks about the history of why the lakes are all numbered.

So you know, there's not like a name for the lake and I'm pretty sure like to seven was to be named, it would probably not be named after after me.

But when the areas being surveyed, the lakes were given an an I.



So like 2 to 7, some of the lakes that that we work on for example or 114 to 39 or 2 40.

So they're all kind of identified by a number I.


And that's how we typically refer to them.

There are a few that have had, you know, names been given, but no, typically it's they're all they're all numbers.

There's no interesting name, you know, again what it is, is that it keeps the science reel right in terms of keeping the numbers there.

Yeah, I was gonna start to add on a lake 2 to 7 as I mentioned is part of the longest running experiments at the I S.





And that was on the unification algorithms that I had mentioned.

So researchers have been adding phosphorus to that lake for over 50 years to study the effects of, of nutrients on algal blooms and the research on unification as I mentioned, really did have international impact and did change water policy.

And I think that's like one of the most perfect case examples of some of the work that um I S D E L.

A has done to have that kind of impact, that large scale impact.

I think again, I think that's quite amazing.

One of the things that you know, again, just in your research and I'm gonna come back to a question that I want to talk to you about, but cat tails, Okay, can you talk a little bit about cattails?

Because you know, again, I'll just say that as a kid, I mean I grew up on a farm and you know, cattails for us.

You know, we would just pick them and then we would wait and blow them into the wind and see what would happen.

I mean that's sort of what we knew, but there's a lot to what cat tails provide, I think to fresh water.

Do you want to just give us a thumbnail on that?

Sure, Absolutely.

And I think you're coming back a little bit into what I do for some of my PhD research.

So that deal, is there an emergency education species commonly found in wetlands?


I might find them in their roadsides ditches and everything.

And sometimes they'll find cattails to be like a nuisance species because they grow very very rapidly there there big there's tons of them but they are also very very effective at taking up water.

And what comes up with water typically also comes up with contaminants.

Um So there's been a lot of work on the potential of fighter remediation which is the concept of using plants to remediate remediate contaminated sites.

That's been done around the world.

That's not really a new concept.

Wetlands are also called nature's kidneys because they are very very good at filtering water.

And that's something that's really important in Manitoba's because we have seen and not even just Manitoba I should say.

But we've seen a lot of loss of wetlands across the prairies and without having wetlands.

Are you not having that filtration of water which means you're getting more runoff, more nutrients entering lake Winnipeg, resulting in these alcopops problems.

Um Like I mentioned, so cattails some of the work that I do is really looking at the capacity of different emergent vegetation species at treating water related challenges.

Everything from excess phosphorous, which is some of the work that's been done at the I.






And then some of the work that I'm looking into now for my PhD research is the ability of emergent wetland plants not just catch up but if you said species to stimulate the degradation of oil products when they're planted on platforms.

So very like a natural process, but plants take up water.

They put oxygen into the water.

They support all sorts of microorganisms and that kind of really great synergistic relationships, builds these small little ecosystems that are able to treat freshwater pollutants that are a big challenge.

So so I'm gonna ask you a little bit about your research um and how it benefits local communities.

But before we go there, I just want to just ask you cat tails, good or bad.

I'm a big fan.

Okay, alright, fair enough.

Very, very big fan.



That's great, that's all good, that's fantastic.

Um Let's go to to talk a little bit about how does your research benefit local communities Madeline coming back to it.

Water is essential for everything.

It is threatened by climate and by pollutants.

Um And that means we're put in communities who rely on water at risk at all times, people are at risk, people don't have access to safe drinking water, water quality changes rapidly.

There might be thresholds um that might alert when it's not safe.

So in terms of of local communities, this kind of concept and we'll specifically talk about this high frequency monitoring is these tools like the Aqua Hive and the sensor platforms can be implemented directly there, that information can be readily available.

Like I said with little to no delay.

We're getting hourly data.

We're literally watching it across the screen every single our upcoming and that's really important, especially in areas that you might have alert levels where conditions may not be safe for drinking or recreation.

This may allow people to really know immediately whether or not the conditions in their, in their environment and community are safe.

And I think that that's a really great tool to have, say for example, some monitoring programs may require water samples to be collected, sent to allow the analyze and then transcribed and then sent back like that time delay might might be too long.

For example, I think that's something I also spoke to you about earlier.

So this is allowing people to like comprehend what is existing in their communities.

I think that's really important because ultimately a lot of the work that we've seen has been driven by communities because they care because they want to protect their, their water, their, you know, environment, their communities and also for future generations and creating this opportunity to have it can be community led.

Like I talked about community based monitoring or involved in communities with these platforms allows greater trust and transparency with decision making.

It's not so uncertain.

You will, you can see what's going on.

Um, so great creating that trust, creating that, you know, being more clear and communicative of that stuff is only going to be more beneficial for everybody, right?

And you talk a lot about the notion of having early warning detection and I think like, you know, kind of in real time, you know that's obviously something that is changing the way that researchers, experts like you can do an analysis to provide your research data forward to again go back to what I.



Does which is take that data, the science put policy strategy around it and again it's not just here in Manitoba but it has an international impact.

Yeah, absolutely.

In terms of like early warnings, this could be so valuable for various things.

We're like I keep bringing up experiencing climate change, we see these environmental pollutants, whether it's from a growth in industry or these you know, events that happened like a massive rainfall.

It can allow people to make faster decisions and respond accordingly.

So whether it's a community a decision maker or environmental manager, if you see that early warning of some sort of event like an algal bloom or something that's about to happen, maybe the response can actually implemented in a timely manner to either slow eliminate or reduce that impact of those things.

And and something that I talked about with my colleague Jeff done quite a bit about was just the like the ability that we do with water quantity quantity.

So for flood forecasting we we are able to forecast that information, we know every single spring, we get another of whether or not we're gonna have a flood this spring and where it's going to be and what communities are affected and we're hopeful that by trying to figure out how we can increase the data and understanding and maybe if we can figure out how to, you know, detect early warnings of systems like why can't we do something like that for, for water quality and and create early warnings for these sorts of events that are very large concerns for communities.

People who rely on the water and you know, creating, you know, more opportunity to to see those relationships between different parameters and things change and predictions.

And I and I would say that your passion is really, really fascinating and always a delight to for me to have people on who are experts who are so passionate about what what they look at.

And we talked about, you know, water as a human, right?

And as you say, people take it for granted.

And yet as we know that there are communities that are not far from Winnipeg where you know, drinking water is is not available to them or they've got to boil water order.

And in 2021 you know, you have to wonder what that's about.

That's not an area that you're involved.

And I understand, but when you talk about water, it's just one of those areas and one of the things that I typically try and do Madeline is ask the guests to maybe talk about an area that they're passionate about.

Sometimes people say, look, here's a great documentary or movie, here's a place that you might want to look at, whether it's a book or something, an author.

Um you've kind of given me a heads up that you would like to really come back and talk about the best education is really immersing yourself in in in nature and what you've done in water.

So share with us, your, your passion about about what you would leave with people in terms of a level of education on, on water.

Yeah, I think that's important and I just like to know if there's a there's a lot of resources available in terms of books and documentaries available on netflix, even they're not hard to find that can really kind of drive the education of everything from, you know, water, clean water and sanitation challenges access to water, but also the challenges with algal blooms and like the water, water challenges are kind of endless.

I won't specifically target one of them.

Um so there's lots of opportunities for that.

But as you mentioned, I kind of wanted to speak a little bit about my more personal experience with water, which I think I highlighted earlier is very connected to lakes and rivers and hiking.

My family always really encouraged um going for weekend hikes, which is something that I carry very closely with me now, but I think that like the connection that I had with water growing up that really kind of drove me to where I was it was because I, I experienced that and I saw how powerful and incredible it is and also acknowledging where my water comes from and how what goes down, you know, my my drain as I'm looking over to my, my kitchen, that's right beside me, what where that goes and and kind of interacting and understanding that communicating that is something that I've found to kind of educate myself over time with water, I've been very fortunate to actually be able to spend time on water, but like I had also said, we have major rivers here in Winnipeg and it's it's not too far to get somewhere to kind of immerse yourself outside and and with the ecosystem.

So I definitely encourage that for people who are, who are able and they are looking looking for some of that experience, right?

I mean, and that's one of the things, I guess as we get through this whole covid people can travel, people can experience it more and more.

Um I started off by saying that of all the water on Earth, just 3% of it is fresh water and Madeline Stanley project Officer with the International Institute for Sustainable Development Water Program, you are doing your very best to ensure that that 3% is the best 3% we can have around the world and you're doing it right here from Winnipeg, Thank you so much for your time for your energy for your interest for your professional approach to creating policy through science that allows those that are decision makers to make the best decisions they possibly can on the 3% of freshwater that we have in this universe in this world.

Thank you so much for having me today Stewart.

It's been really good opportunity and also made me reflect a lot about the last few years of my life and how I got to where I was.

So I also really appreciated that opportunity.

Um Thank you again.

Thank you so much for your time.

Thanks Humans on Rights is recorded and hosted by Stuart, Murray social media marketing by the creative team at full current in Winnipeg.

Thanks also to trick seem a bit you in music by Doug Edmund for more go to human rights hub dot C A A production of the Sound off media company.

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