For the 19th consecutive year, the Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed Forum brought a multitude (144) of researchers, resource managers, policy makers and members of the public together on March 9-10 in a virtual setting for the second time.   With a formal opening and welcome from Al Pemberton of Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, the spirit of partnership and water protection across the border set the foundation for the day and half symposium.

Seventy organizations working in the watershed were represented at the Forum with 25 studies featured, with themes of Water Governance, State of the Basin, Nutrients & Algae, and Emerging Issues and Technologies.  Highlights included:

  • A keynote on ““Legal personhood, Indigenous and international governance, and relation to water”, with Indigenous scholar and lawyer, Professor Aimée Craft.
  • An overview of a project by Grand Council Treaty #3 on how both Manito Aki Inakonigaawin and the Nibi declaration are moving forward today, following interviews with Elders and Knowledge Keepers.
  • Discussion of key findings of the Rainy-Lake of the Woods State of the Basin report (www.lowwsf.com/sobr) that was released in March.
  • A presentation by Scott Higgins, IISD-Experimental Lakes Area, showing that the duration of ice-cover on our lakes is getting shorter by about 4 days per decade.
  • “Sediment fingerprinting” to trace phosphorus in Lake of the Woods back upstream to its origins, to help target restoration efforts.
  • Research into phosphorus loads to Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River from tributaries in the Canadian portion of the watershed.
  • Study of the effects of microplastics on fish physiology.

Numerous other studies were presented, and both these and the available recordings can be found on the main page at: www.lowwsf.com/watershed-forum.