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SWP wins magazine award

The Superior Watershed Partnership is the winner of the 2020 Lake Superior Magazine Achievement Award. SWP also owns the Stannard Rock Lighthouse, located 42 miles from Marquette in Lake Superior. (Photo courtesy of SWP)

MARQUETTE — The Superior Watershed Partnership has won the 2020 Lake Superior Magazine Achievement Award.

“If the Superior Watershed Partnership model teaches anything, I truly believe it is the power of local,” said Carl Lindquist, executive director of the SWP, in a news release. “The power of relying on local partners, of relying on each other, and doing whatever you can to help, where you are.”

The SWP, which has been in existence for 21 years, coordinates or cooperates in projects on all four Lake Superior shores and on lakes Michigan and Huron. It has worked with five indigenous nations, universities and religious organizations plus local, state, federal and Canadian partners.

The partnership has projects for Great Lakes habitat protection and restoration, community pollution prevention, climate change adaptation planning and implementation, invasive species removal and prevention, and water quality and stormwater management.

It also has projects for native plant restoration, land protection, youth programs and public education, and Upper Peninsula community assistance, including assisting low-income families with energy bills, solar energy options and energy conservation.

SWP seasonal workers in its Great Lakes Conservation Corps have helped in major undertakings, such as cleaning up after the 2019 Father’s Day flood in Houghton, and this year, aided projects idled by COVID-19.

The group even owns a lighthouse — the Stannard Rock Lighthouse, one of the most remote in the country, from which it lets various groups conduct water and weather monitoring.

Each year since 1994, Lake Superior Magazine honors an organization or individual for significantly contributing to the well-being of Lake Superior and its people. The announcement of this year’s winner comes in the October/November issue of the magazine that recently rolled off the presses.

Editor Konnie LeMay said the Superior Watershed Partnership was an easy choice for the honor.

“We love its broad-reaching, solution-finding focus and its willingness to partner and protect the environment while acknowledging the economic and social needs of the Big Lake’s residents,” LeMay was quoted as saying. “It approaches problems by looking for practical solutions, which is why it so frequently succeeds in its goals.

“We also appreciate that although it is solidly Upper Peninsula-based, SWP, like Lake Superior Magazine itself, looks at the watershed as a broader neighborhood rather than narrowly focusing only on one or another of its four shores.”

Lindquist echoed that sentiment.

“We have amazing resources here in the Lake Superior neighborhood; the traditional knowledge of Native American tribes and First Nations, hard-working nonprofits, top-notch universities, resilient coastal communities and amazing people who would do just about anything to help protect the ‘Big Lake,'” he said. “That includes both locals and visitors. Some of the best volunteers we have are visitors who will happily endure the sweatiest, muddiest, buggiest restoration work to help protect Lake Superior. And that includes kids. It’s truly inspiring.”

Lindquist said SWP staff and board have always believed in the power of local,.

“While national and multinational environmental organizations do important work, they will never match the power of local nonprofits in the sheer amount of on-the-ground protection and restoration projects that get implemented,” he said. “That’s the ‘real work’ in our opinion. It’s never been more important to support local. To support each other. To support Lake Superior.”

Read the full Lake Superior Magazine story,“The Practical Partner, SWP Delivers the Solutions,” about SWP and view the full list of past Achievement Award winners at www.LakeSuperior.com. To learn more about the SWP, visit website, superiorwatersheds. org.

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