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People, Places, Stories


Energy Conservation Corps Solar Installation

The SWP Energy Conservation Corps (ECC) works with communities to become more energy efficient. The newest initiative for the ECC is installing solar panels, free of charge for selected low-income households across the UP. Please click on photo to view video. Special thanks to our partners supporting the SWP UP Energy Initiative: Michigan Energy Assistance Program, SEMCO Energy, UPPCO, C.S. Mott Foundation, The Community Foundation of Marquette County, and the State of Michigan Energy Office.

Super Yooper

“I Am a Super Yooper” was composed by Marquette, MI singer/songwriter Jerry Mills and the 2017/18 third grade students of Sandy Knoll Elementary School with the help of teachers Nancy Usitalo and Jodi Miller. This inspiring Great Lakes Education song was sponsored by The Superior Watershed Project of Marquette, MI. Thank you to everyone involved! Please click on photo to view video.

Four the Water

In partnership with the Superior Watershed Partnership (SWP), and in an effort to draw attention to plastic pollution in Lake Superior, Four the Water conducted basic microplastic monitoring at nine strategic Lake Superior locations adjacent to communities in the US and Canada. As they paddled counterclockwise around the lake, water samples were collected in the nearshore waters off of:

  1. Marquette, MI
  2. Sault St. Marie, ON
  3. Michipicoten, ON
  4. Marathon, ON
  5. Thunder Bay, ON
  6. Grand Marais, MN
  7. Duluth, MN
  8. Cornucopia, WI
  9. Ontonagon, MI

Once collected, samples were shipped back to the SWP and sent to an EPA-approved laboratory for analysis. Lab results were used to assess the presence or absence of microplastics in each 1000 ml sample. Three of the nine samples included trace amounts of microplastics (Sault St. Marie, Marathon, ON, and Duluth, MN). These data represent an important, but preliminary citizen-science approach to tracking microplastic pollution in Lake Superior. To follow-up on the Four Waters preliminary microplastic monitoring the SWP is developing a more in-depth monitoring protocol that will include the SWP Research Vessel (ERDA 1) and mesh netting/seine sampling protocols that can provide a more detailed representation of microplastics that may be present in the water column. The Four the Water monitoring provided valuable baseline data and priceless community outreach and basin-wide education opportunities related to plastics and pollution prevention!