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SWP’s hands-on watershed work benefits region

There’s nothing quite like listening to Lake Superior’s waters lap up against the shoreline on an early summer morning. However, the gentle sounds of the big lake’s waves are just one small part of what it offers our region. It’s a treasure we value for providing fresh water, habitat, beauty, recreational opportunities and so much more.

Furthermore, the well-being of the Lake Superior watershed is intrinsically and inseparably connected to the well-being of the people, plants, animals, ecosystems and societies surrounding its waters. This bestows a tremendous responsibility upon all who live along these waters, and right right here in Marquette, we have an organization that’s repeatedly risen to this enormous task, the Superior Watershed Partnership.

The SWP, a Marquette-based nonprofit, received Lake Superior Magazine’s 2020 Achievement Award during a ceremony in Marquette at Presque Isle Park overlooking Lake Superior.

The award, presented by Konnie LeMay, editor of the Duluth, Minnesota-based magazine, has been given annually since 1994 to individuals or organizations that have contributed significantly to the well-being of Lake Superior and its peoples.

“They’re the Swiss Army knife of organizations because they’re able to handle so many different areas, and handle it well, and with practical functionality,” LeMay said of the SWP.

The SWP has benefited the Marquette community, she noted, but it’s also helped the Lake Superior community, continuing to broaden its scope to other Great Lakes.

We agree completely. The scope of the SWP’s work never fails to impress us here at the Journal, as the 22-year-old SWP cooperates on projects on all four Lake Superior shores as well as on Lakes Michigan and Huron. Its projects have focused on habitat protection and restoration such as planting beach grass and common milkweed near the lakeshore, community pollution protection, climate change adaptation planning and implementation, invasive species removal and prevention, water quality and stormwater management. It has assisted low-income families with energy bills and is undertaking a fundraising effort to restore the Stannard Rock Lighthouse, among other activities.

The scope of the SWP’s efforts — and critically, its hands-on approach to performing the “real work” in the region’s watersheds — make this organization an invaluable part of our community, our watershed and our region.

The SWP is an amazing example of how a single, dedicated nonprofit organization can benefit so many lives — human, plant and animal — by protecting our watersheds and ecosystems through a wide range of interconnected and complementary approaches. We commend the SWP and all of its staff, volunteers and crew members for making a real difference in many lives across many watersheds, each and every day.

We hope readers will consider volunteering, donating or otherwise supporting this organization, as it is a shining example of how humans can protect and give back to the lands and waters that have sustained us for generations.

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