News release

August 16, 2022

Contact

Kevin Gaffney , 612-414-6139, kevin.gaffney@state.mn.us

MPCA announces $78,000 investment with Cedar River Watershed District in Austin to prepare for extreme weather and climate change

City of Rochester also receives $107,000 grant from MPCA

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) announced today a $78,000 grant to the Cedar River Watershed District to better understand how to prepare its infrastructure for extreme weather caused by climate change.

The watershed district will use the funds to assess, evaluate, and develop water infrastructure projects to improve stormwater systems and best prepare them for heavy rain events. The projects will focus specifically on reducing risk to locations within Austin, Minnesota, that include communities with low-income residents and people of color.

“This partnership between the Cedar River Watershed District, the City of Austin, and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency demonstrates the importance of collaboration in preparing communities for the effects of climate change,” said MPCA Commissioner Katrina Kessler. “By working together, we are creating innovative solutions that protect our thriving economy, environment, and way of life here in Minnesota.”

“The Cedar River Watershed District and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency are forward thinking agencies who share a common vision. Their efforts to support, plan and prepare for extreme weather events caused by our changing climate are appreciated by every resident of Austin and our surrounding communities.  This partnership and these grant funds will make an impact," said Mayor Steve King.

In addition to the Cedar River Watershed District grant, MPCA announced a $107,000 grant to the City of Rochester to develop a network of climate resilience hubs that will provide resources for residents facing immediate threats from major weather events brought on by climate change, such as flooding, extreme heat and cold, storms, etc. The resilience hub network will ultimately provide safe places to shelter during emergencies while also creating opportunities for residents to engage with city representatives on how Rochester is adapting to the effects of climate change.

Communities across Minnesota are also recognizing the need to prepare for climate change. According to a recent MPCA survey, 87% of local governments reported recently experiencing the impact of at least one weather trend caused by climate change. Forty-two percent of Minnesota communities reported the need for additional funding for planning and infrastructure upgrades to address these impacts.