The Experimental Lakes Area (ELA), left hanging since Ottawa announced it would close the station in 2012, officially has a fresh start.

The federal government handed over management to a Winnipeg-based non-profit group.

Now, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) will continue the work at the ELA site in northwestern Ontario.

The 58 small lakes set aside for studies have provided groundbreaking research since 1968.

“The work at ELA has been very important in driving policy, not only in Canada but around the world,” said Mike Paterson with IISD.

But securing new management is just the beginning.

The biggest challenge now will be securing millions of dollars of financing each year.

In the short-term, the Manitoba and Ontario governments put up joint funding for the next five years, so the research company can settle in.

IISD expects to hire many of the researchers from the previous ELA team, to ensure decades worth of studies can continue making a difference.