By Steve Weisman
Steve Anderson, currently District Superintendent of the Great Lakes Sanitary System, recently received the Ace Cory Conservation Award at the annual Okoboji Protective Association’s annual meeting.
“I am extremely honored to receive this award, because I know how passionate Ace Cory was about conservation and about our lakes area. I had the privilege of working with Ace early in my career, and hopefully my efforts in water quality around the lakes carries on what Ace started,” said Anderson.
“As a kid growing up, I never thought about water quality. I thought you could go swimming anywhere, and we didn’t worry about what was in the water. Today that has changed. I want my kids to be able to enjoy the lakes just as I did. However, we know that there are issues and it is up to us to protect these lakes so future generations can enjoy them. Plus, the economy of the lakes area relies on the water quality of our lakes. Ace always used to say, ‘If the lakes aren’t clean, cash register won’t ring’,” added Anderson.
About the award
Anderson is the 10the recipient of the Ace Cory Conservation Award, which has been bestowed annually since 2006 by the Okoboji Protective Association to an individual whose work in the Iowa Great Lakes area, voluntary or professional, reflects the principles of the late Ace Cory, one of the region’s pioneer environmentalists.
Cory was one of the leaders in the late 1990’s to seek a steady stream of money to fund clean water projects in Dickinson County. He was instrumental in the formation of the Dickinson County Water Quality Commission, the first and only organization of its kind in Iowa.
Anderson and the award
Anderson, who grew up in Estherville, has always loved and cared about the outdoors. This led to a degree in Environmental Management and minors in Chemistry and Biology from South Dakota State University in 1999.
His passion for the Iowa Great Lakes area brought him back, and he has spent the past 16 years working to improve the environment and protect the natural resources in Dickinson County.
Early in his career, Anderson met Ace Cory, who was one of the leaders in the late 1990s to seek a steady stream of money to fund clean water projects in Dickinson County. Anderson was part of the group that helped establish the Dickinson County Water Quality Commission in 2001.
In that same year, Anderson became the coordinator of the Clean Water Alliance, bringing the organization to prominence by spearheading Low Impact Development (LID) projects throughout the region and raising public awareness of the importance of conservation practices within the Iowa Great Lakes watershed.
Then from 2008-2011, Anderson took the position as Urban Conservationist for northwest Iowa. Greg Drees, who presented Anderson with the award at the OPA’s annual meeting noted, “As the urban conservationist for the NW Iowa region, he brought his knowledge of natural resource protection to the city sectors, lending his expertise to projects that reduced sediment, phosphorous and nitrate deposits into water bodies.”
In 2012, Anderson became District Superintendent for the Iowa Great Lakes Sanitary District where, as Drees added during the presentation, “ Steve works diligently to keep the half-century old entity relevant into the 21st century and beyond. “
Sacket thanks community
With the 2015 Clean Water Concert now in the books, Barry Sackett, President of the OPA, reflected on the day. “The community came out to celebrate the beauty of West Lake Okoboji.”
Sackett also thanked the area media for all of their support and also the volunteers that worked so hard to make the event a success.