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News release

May 4, 2022


Kevin Gaffney, 612-414-6139,

MPCA: One in four Minnesota communities do not have plans to address extreme weather caused by climate change

More than half have experienced more extreme rainfall and storms

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), along with leaders from Biwabik, New Ulm, and Richfield, today released preliminary survey results from cities, counties, and tribal nations that show a quarter (25%) of Minnesota communities do not have plans to address extreme weather caused by climate change. Additionally, only 12% of survey respondents have a standalone climate adaptation or resiliency plan. This data was collected through the 2022 Climate Adaptation Survey, which received responses from 380 local governments across every region of the state.

The most striking response in this year’s survey is that 87% of local governments reported recently experiencing the impact of at least one weather trend caused by climate change.

  • 54% of respondents have experienced more extreme rainfall and storms
  • 49% of respondents have experienced extreme drought
  • 46% have seen less consistent snow cover
  • 33% have seen more frequent flooding

“Extreme weather from our changing climate poses a threat to our communities, economy, and way of life. Local governments see the devastating consequences of extreme weather but need support from state government to ensure their communities are protected in the future,” said MPCA Commissioner Katrina Kessler.

According to the survey, 42% of communities said they needed additional funding for planning and infrastructure upgrades to address these changes. Similarly, 42% noted the need for better guidance on best practices for climate adaptation. In this legislative session, the MPCA sought $21.1 million to help cities upgrade aging stormwater infrastructure to manage increased, heavier rains and prevent community flooding. The agency also requested $55 million for broader resiliency actions ranging from streambank restoration to shade tree planting. These proposals build on the bipartisan budget agreement last year that provided planning grants for communities.

While the Legislature debates additional funding for communities, many local governments are currently taking action to prepare their communities for climate impacts. According to the survey, 29% of communities have planted trees to create additional shade cover, 27% have reduced erosion trouble spots on waterways, and 24% have upgraded their infrastructure to better manage heavier rains.

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