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MPCA to invest $35 million in modernizing stormwater systems to prepare for climate change

Grants are part of $100 million for climate-related projects

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) today announced a new $35 million grants program to prepare Minnesota’s aging stormwater infrastructure for climate change. Tribal nations, cities, counties, and other local governments can apply for funding to upgrade their stormwater systems with climate-smart improvements that will protect drinking water and prevent flooding.

Examples of projects that are eligible for funding through this program include stormwater retention ponds, improvements to streets to support rainwater drainage, increasing the capacity of stormwater pipes, planting rain gardens, and others.

As Minnesota’s climate continues to warm, extreme storms have pushed aging and undersized stormwater systems to the breaking point in communities across the state. Over the last 20 years, Minnesota has experienced 10 “mega-rain” events, defined as events when at least six inches of rainfall over an area of at least 1,000 square miles. Today more than 155,000 homes and apartment buildings, 29,000 miles of roads, and 13,000 commercial buildings in Minnesota are at risk of severe flooding.

“Investing in managing stormwater strengthens Minnesota communities by protecting our homes, schools, and hospitals from flooding,” said Minnesota Climate Director Kate Knuth. “Minnesota is getting warmer and wetter. This program will provide local governments across the state with the opportunity and resources to modernize their infrastructure to handle bigger storms that are a result of Minnesota's changing climate.”

During the 2023 legislative session, the Walz/Flanagan administration advanced $100 million to support planning and construction projects that will make Minnesota communities more resilient to the impacts of climate change. The stormwater grants program is the first round of construction funding that is being awarded from this $100 million climate resilience package. During the last two years, the MPCA has awarded over 30 Minnesota communities with grants to create plans for projects that will prepare their communities for climate change.

Data from the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) shows that every $1 invested in resilient infrastructure translates into $6 in community benefit from avoided loss due to extreme precipitation, flooding, and other disasters. Read more about other steps Minnesota is taking to make our communities more climate-resilient in the Climate Action Framework.

Applications for the stormwater grants are due April 11, 2024.

 

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