Preparing communities for our changing climate

A photo of flooding in Red Wing, Minnesota. A home is surrounded by sand bags and flood water.

Minnesota can adapt for extreme weather caused by climate change, but we must equip our communities with the tools they need to do this work. The MPCA is advancing two proposals in the 2022 legislative session to fund local infrastructure resiliency projects in cities across the state.”

Today, there are 155,269 residential properties, 29,473 miles of roads, 13,680 commercial buildings, and 515 critical infrastructure facilities in Minnesota at risk of severe flooding.

As Minnesota continues to warm, extreme wet weather events will further push Minnesota’s infrastructure to the breaking point, presenting a direct threat to homes, businesses, and the environment.

The threat of flooding takes a significant emotional — and economic — toll on our communities. According to the Insurance Federation of Minnesota, extreme weather events have caused insurance premiums to increase by 366% in Minnesota since 1998.

Communities across Minnesota need help preparing for these changes. A recent survey conducted by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency found that 65 cities want a plan to prepare their infrastructure for the impact of climate change but haven’t developed one, largely because of a lack of resources.

Upgrading our stormwater infrastructure

The MPCA and the Walz-Flanagan administration are requesting $21.1 million to establish a grant program for stormwater infrastructure upgrades in cities across Minnesota. These upgrades will help to mitigate flood damage and adapt to increasing severe rain events. Projects funded by this program would range from new or enhanced stormwater management systems that will increase storage capacity to the establishment of rain gardens, tree trenches, and other natural water management tools.

More information: PDF icon Stormwater construction grants (leg-sy22-31)

Prevent flooding with climate-smart design

The MPCA and the Walz-Flanagan administration are requesting $55 million to plan, design, and implement community preparedness projects with local and Tribal governments. These projects will have four primary focus areas:

  • Engineering and construction projects to upgrade shared spaces like community buildings, parks, libraries, and other publicly owned facilities to withstand more frequent and intense localized flooding and erosion.
  • Streambank and shoreline restoration to reduce flooding risk through enhancements that will provide erosion.
  • Construction and landscape updates to reduce excessive heat including tree planting for shading and design improvements to keep buildings cooler.
  • Technical assistance for resiliency planning including planning and design support, and development of resiliency metrics. Benchmarking from other states with similar community preparedness action grants shows that individual awards for projects have ranged from $175,000 to $2 million.

More information: PDF icon Community climate adaptation grants (leg-sy22-16)

Contact

Media inquiries: Kevin Gaffney, MPCA Public Affairs Specialist – 612-414-6139