Lake Myvatn and its outflow, the river Laxa, comprise an extraordinary and unique wetland system in the volcanically active zone of Iceland. The lake is a Ramsar site — an international designation for wetlands of importance. From the time of the original Icelandic settlements, local inhabitants have raised sheep, fished, and sustainably gathered waterfowl eggs.
Since the late 1960s, diatomite has been dredged from the lake and processed at a nearby factory. Despite overwhelming evidence that mining damages the lake’s ecosystem, the country’s environmental ministry recently announced that dredging will expand into the lake’s southern basin.
The Lake Myvatn Research Station has conducted studies and worked with the community to protect the lake for 25 years. Seacology has purchased optical equipment, microscopes, stereoscopes, and telescopes for the community school. Research station staff are working with schoolchildren to study the lake’s abundant lifeforms. This study will arm them with knowledge that will help them shape the future of the lake and the neighboring community.