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Minnesota's climate already is changing rapidly and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Temperatures are increasing — especially in winter — and larger, more frequent extreme precipitation events are occurring.

Substantial warming during winter and at night, increased precipitation, and heavier downpours already have damaged buildings and infrastructure, limited recreational opportunities, altered our growing seasons, impacted natural resources, and affected the conditions of lakes, rivers, wetlands, and our groundwater aquifers that provide water for drinking and irrigation.

The years ahead will bring even warmer winters and nights, and even larger rainfalls, along with increased summer heat and longer dry spells. Even if we drastically reduced or halted greenhouse gas emissions immediately, the climate has already changed and will continue to change.

Climate adaptation identifies strategies and actions that help human and natural systems cope with and become more resilient to these impacts of climate change. The MPCA is taking action to identify climate change risks and to help Minnesota communities adapt to climate change.

Climate adaptation and resilience planning survey

We surveyed more than one thousand governmental entities in 2016, in 2019 and again in 2022 — including Minnesota cities and townships, counties, tribal governments, watershed districts, soil and water conservation districts, and more — about their climate adaptation and resilience planning. Over the three survey iterations, more than half (57 percent) of the organizations ever invited (698 of 1,219) responded one or more times, including 192 organizations that responded to two of the surveys and 88 organizations that responded all three times.

Our data dashboard shows adaptation planning by Minnesota governments. Search by planning type or county. View the statewide planning indicator. Find out about climate change trends observed, actions taken to increase resilience, and interest in assistance offerings. 

Assisting communities

We provide grants to Minnesota communities to adapt and increase their resilience to Minnesota’s changing climate. These grant projects not only help the local recipients but also provide models of what can be done with planning and resilience across Minnesota. See current funding opportunities and past grant project model plans and information resources at this link:

Climate change risk assessments

MPCA has an internal climate adaptation team that helped guide a consultant-facilitated climate change risk assessment process for the agency’s programs during 2019 and 2020. The resulting reports look at risks and opportunities due to climate change for MPCA operations and staff, regulatory and assistance efforts, community members affected by MPCA programs, and the overall mission of the agency. The reports continue to be referenced for strategic and annual planning purposes. 

MPCA also coordinates interagency teams on climate adaptation and resilience. In 2017, the team prepared a report on state agency efforts in six areas that it had identified as priorities:

The current interagency team referenced the 2017 report during its development of the Minnesota Climate Action Framework.