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MPCA invests $500,000 to help small communities prepare for extreme weather and climate change

Eight cities will receive grants to create plans that will protect homes and businesses from flooding and other climate impacts

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) today announced a $500,000 investment to help eight communities in Greater Minnesota better understand how to prepare their infrastructure for extreme weather caused by climate change. The grants, which range from $27.000 to $156,000, will support cities’ plans to improve and upgrade stormwater and drainage systems and prevent flooding.

Communities across Minnesota are 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.

“The devastating flooding Minnesota communities have experienced over the past two weeks underscores the need for collaboration between the state and local governments to prepare for extreme storms,” said MPCA Commissioner Katrina Kessler. “These grants will help protect Main Street businesses and neighborhoods in small communities across the state from the worst impacts of climate change.”

This round of funding is specifically dedicated to supporting climate change planning in Minnesota communities with less than 10,000 residents. These grants are part of the Climate Resiliency and Water Infrastructure Grant Program, which was bolstered in 2023 with $100 million allocated by the Minnesota State Legislature. More than 40 Minnesota communities have received funding through the program since 2021.

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.

City of Aurora

Aurora will use a $156,000 grant to develop a stormwater management plan to improve drainage in the city specifically addressing runoff and direct groundwater input from the St. James Legacy Mine Pit.

City of Belgrade

Belgrade will use a $35,000 grant to evaluate its existing stormwater system, note challenges to stormwater drainage in the community, identify any critical flooding and/or contamination threats, and develop a plan to prepare its system for a changing climate.

City of Comfrey

Comfrey will use a $57,000 grant to identify sources of stormwater runoff contributing to ongoing flooding in their community and develop drainage improvement alternatives and solutions to reroute stormwater away from their city.

City of Danube

Danube will use a $27,000 grant to identify design upgrades to their city infrastructure that will prevent flooding that impacts much of their community during two-year rain events.

City of Ellendale

Ellendale will use a $38,000 grant to develop a comprehensive stormwater model to better understand their existing stormwater system and develop capital improvement plans to make the system more resilient to a changing climate.

City of Lake City

Lake City will use a $71,000 grant to develop an inventory of its existing storm drains to assess flood risks and make recommendations for stormwater infrastructure improvements.

City of Luverne

Luverne will use a $59,000 grant to assess upgrades to their stormwater infrastructure that will prevent flooding in residential neighborhoods and downtown businesses as their city continues to grow.

City of Wabasha

Wabasha will use a $55,000 grant to understand how they can bolster city transportation systems and other infrastructure to prevent disruptions during large flooding events in the spring and summer around the Mississippi River.

 

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