Interagency Climate Adaptation Team

Since 2009, the Interagency Climate Adaptation Team has been helping increase collaborative efforts among state agencies and focusing attention on needed action to assist Minnesota and its communities in adapting to climate change.

Working through this team, state agencies have developed five statewide indicators to help track climate change impacts and Minnesota’s progress in climate adaptation:

  1. Climate adaptation planning among state agencies, tribes and local units
  2. Disruptions to the power grid
  3. Heat-related health impacts
  4. Damages from extreme weather
  5. Urban and community forest canopy cover

MPCA funded a survey of all governmental organizations in Minnesota to obtain data for the first indicator. The initial survey in 2016 provided a conservative estimate of 17.5 percent of organizations invited to participate in the survey that had at least one type of plan or planning effort with content that specifically addresses climate adaptation and resilience. When the survey results were updated early in 2019, that indicator had increased to almost a quarter (24.5 percent) of the organizations having at least one type of plan or planning effort addressing climate adaptation.

Priority areas that need action

These are the six priority areas the team identified for needed action in climate adaptation:

  • Resilience to extreme precipitation
  • Health of vulnerable populations
  • Conservation of terrestrial and aquatic habitat
  • Management of agricultural water practices
  • Reduction of impacts in cities, towns, and other population centers
  • Development of data, information, and communications

These priority areas are discussed in the context of climate trends and state agency efforts in a 2017 interagency report, with background provided by two previous interagency reports on climate adaptation.

Working with the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management at the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, the team was able to incorporate extensive climate change information and focus on actions needed to address these priority areas in the 2019 State Hazard Mitigation Plan. The ICAT White Paper: Building Resiliency to Extreme Precipitation, written with stakeholder involvement, helped inform the plan.

State agencies will not be able to achieve fully the complex and evolving goal of climate adaptation on their own. The team needs to help build and nurture partnerships on climate adaptation among state government and federal, tribal, and local governments, higher educational institutions, the private sector, nonprofit organizations, and community members.

Resources for adaptation strategies

For more information

Sharon Stephens, 651-757-2172
Climate Change Adaptation Coordinator