City Detail

Background Information

City of Bemidji
County: Beltrami
Population: 15119
GreenStep City category: A
Full-time equivalent city staff (approx.): 106
Participating township, county, school: Beltrami County
Northern Township
Bemidji Township
ISD #31

GreenStep Coordinator

Michelle Miller
City Staff
218-759-3561
City web page relating to sustainability/GreenStep activities:
GreenStep City resolution: Click here to view the file.
GreenStep City status and date: STEP 3 ( )

City Assessment Files and City Performance Metrics

City councils pass a resolution to join the GreenStep program and are recognized at Step 1. Step 2 and Step 3 recognition levels reflect completed city actions, reported and rated below with stars (1 star = good, 2 stars = better, 3 stars = best). The Assessment File below summarizes completed city actions in a short Word file. Step 4 recognition is awarded to cities who report a minimum number of core metrics for the previous calendar year. These metrics aim to show the aggregate, quantitative results of taking multiple GreenStep actions. Step 5 cities show improvement in the Step 4 metrics. See yearly data for Steps 4&5. Additional city data can be found by reviewing information on B3 Benchmarking and Regional Indicators Initiative.

Assessment File

Best Practice Actions Underway and Completed

Completed actions are denoted by stars.

Total completed actions: 53
1 star actions: 21
2 star actions: 18
3 star actions: 11

Buildings and Lighting Buildings and Lighting

Efficient Existing Public Buildings {BP no.1}

2 star - Action 1:

Enter building information into the Minnesota B3 Benchmarking database and routinely enter monthly energy, water use data for all city-owned buildings.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
B3 Benchmarking data has been reported for city buildings. Data has been input for natural gas and electricity use for buildings since 2007 and is continuing to be updated regularly.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Michelle Miller (City staff) | michelle.miller@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 218-759-3561
2 star - Action 2:

Make no/low cost indoor lighting and operational changes in city-owned/school buildings to reduce energy costs.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
In February of 2014 the city of Bemidji began working on an a partnership with Honeywell. The Investment Grade Audit to the City of Bemidji report identifies the current condition and recommendations for the facilities and infrastructure identified in the GESP Work Order Contract. This includes proposed enhancements to the mechanical, electrical, structural and temperature control systems along with the respective costs and savings associated with each recommendation.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
Honeywell City of Bemidji
For more information contact:
Michelle Miller (City staff) | michelle.miller@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 218-759-3561
3 star - Action 3:

Invest in larger energy efficiency projects through performance contracting or other funding or through smaller retro-commissioning/retrofit projects in city-owned/school buildings.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The city of Bemidji was one of the first in the state to utilize the Guaranteed Energy Savings Program, or GESP. GESP is essentially performance contracting, with a few added benefits. Bemidji used GESP to undertake a $2.5 million dollar efficiency project. Nine city buildings underwent an energy audit through the Retired Engineer Technical Assistance Program, and then made the efficiency upgrades according to the RETAP audit. Also, much of the cities outdoor lighting was upgraded to LEDs.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Bemidji realized a one-time rebate of $122,000 and is anticipating on saving $120,000 each year in utility and maintenance costs.
Descriptive File:
RETAP, MN Department of Commerce, Honeywell
For more information contact:
Jesse Robertson (City staff) | jesse.robertson@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 218-759-3585
1 star - Action 4:

Implement information technology efforts and city employee engagement to reduce plug loads, building energy use and workflow efficiency.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Practice 1, Action 4:Sanford Center HVAC and Lighting are computer controlled to run based on Event Load.

City Hall replaced HVAC system with computer controlled unit. Project completed May 2009

The HVAC system at the Public Works facility is computer controlled. New building was completed in March 2008

Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Michelle Miller (City staff) | michelle.miller@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 218-759-3561

Efficient Existing Private Buildings {BP no.2}

3 star - Action 4:

Describe energy/water efficiency outcomes and other green building practices at businesses and not-for-profit organizations located within/nearby the city.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Luekens Village Grocery store built and has begun selling produce from a large scale aquaponics greenhouse. Please see news story and radio broadcast for details: http://www.lptv.org/luekens-village-foods-goes-green-with-aquaponics-garden/

https://beta.prx.org/stories/95850

Harmony Food Coop in partnership with CERT installed the first solar awning array in the city of Bemidji. Please see Bemidji Pioneer Article for details.

Article: http://www.bemidjipioneer.com/content/going-even-greener-harmony-co-op-introduces-solar-awning-project

CERT info: http://www.cleanenergyresourceteams.org/sites/default/files/CERTs_FundedProjects_2014_northwest_0.pdf
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
Harmony Co-op, Luekens, Cert
For more information contact:
Michelle Miller (City staff) | michelle.miller@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 218-759-3561

Efficient Outdoor Lighting and Signals {BP no.4}

2 star - Action 4:

Coordinate traffic signals and/or optimize signal timing so as minimize car idling at intersections yet maintain safe and publicly acceptable vehicle speeds.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
There are eleven (11) sets of traffic signals on Trunk Highway 197 within the City of Bemidji. All of these signals are synchronized by MnDOT in order to minimize car idling at intersections. This reduces levels of pollution while at the same time ensuring safe vehicle speeds and spacing.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
Cindy Hazelton, MN-DOT
For more information contact:
Michelle Miller (City staff) | michelle.miller@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 218-759-3561
2 star - Action 8:

Replace the city's existing traffic signals with LEDs.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Bemidji contracts with MNDOT to maintain and operate all of the signals within the city boundaries. As you can see by the list below approximately 95% of all traffic signals within the city are outfitted with LED lamps.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
Cindy Hazelton, MN-DOT
For more information contact:
Michelle Miller (City staff) | michelle.miller@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 218-759-3561

Land Use Land Use

Comprehensive, Climate and Energy Plans {BP no.6}

1 star - Action 1:

Adopt a comprehensive plan or (for Category B & C cities) adopt a future land use plan that was adopted by the county or a regional entity.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Land Use Plan Adopted February 12, 2007. See Introduction section of Plan. Pages i-ii.

Revised March 9, 2011 to include Active Living as part of the Agenda for the Future section.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Michelle Miller (City staff) | michelle.miller@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 218-759-3561
1 star - Action 2:

Demonstrate that regulatory ordinances comply with the comprehensive plan including but not limited to having the zoning ordinance explicitly reference the comprehensive plan as the foundational document for decision making.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Land Use Plan Adopted February 12, 2007. See Introduction section of Plan. Pages i-ii.

Section 104: Relation to Land Use Plan outlines the policy for land use and development ordinances be enforced, amended and administered with due consideration of the Greater Bemidji Area Land Use Plan.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Cory Boushee (City staff) | cory.boushee@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 2187593582
2 star - Action 3:

Include requirements in comprehensive and/or other plans for intergovernmental coordination addressing regional land use and watershed / wellhead impacts, infrastructure, transportation, economic development and city/regional services.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Land Use Plan. Adopted February 12, 2007. See Introduction section of Plan. Pages i-ii.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Michelle Miller (City staff) | michelle.miller@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 218-759-3561

Resilient City Growth {BP no.7}

1 star - Action 1:

Limit barriers to higher density housing by including in the city zoning ordinance and zoning map:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Practice 7, Action 1 (a) and 1 (b)Land Use Plan, Page 72(a), Page 73(b) Adopted February 12, 2007.
See Introduction section of Plan in hyperlink. Pages i-ii.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Michelle Miller (City staff) | michelle.miller@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 218-759-3561
2 star - Action 2:

Achieve higher density housing through at least two of the following strategies:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Practice 7, Action 2(d):Adoption of tiny houses in the Land Use Plan will be completed by May 2015, Land Use Plan Revision

Practice 7, Action 2 (c) Land Use Plan. Adopted February 12, 2007. See Introduction section of Plan. Pages i-ii.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Michelle Miller (City staff) | michelle.miller@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 218-759-3561
Pending - Action 3:

Achieve higher intensity commercial/industrial land uses through at least one of the following strategies:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Practice 7, Action 3(a): Land Use Plan (Page 76) Adopted February 12, 2007. See Introduction for more details.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Board
For more information contact:
Michelle Miller (City staff) | michelle.miller@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 218-759-3561
Pending - Action 5:

Use design to create social trust and interaction among neighbors: modify the city zoning ordinance and zoning map to allow, without variance or rezoning in at least one district, developments that meet the prerequisites for LEED for Neighborhood Development certification.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Practice 7, Action 5: Land Use Plan Adopted February 12, 2007, See Introduction
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Michelle Miller (City staff) | michelle.miller@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 218-759-3561

Mixed Uses {BP no.8}

3 star - Action 1:

Organize or participate in a community planning/placemaking/design process for the city/a mixed use district.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The Minnesota Design Team visited Bemidji on September 14-16 of 2012. In addition to touring the Bemidji area, they held two events to connect with the Bemidji community. On Friday evening, community members gathered with the Minnesota Design Team to help develop our shared vision of Bemidji’s future and brainstorm ideas and practices that could be implemented in Bemidji. The MDT used this feedback from community members to prepare their presentation for Saturday evening. They first presented a slideshow at the Chief Theater, before moving to a nearby location where community members could see each slide/poster prepared and converse directly with Minnesota Design Team members on their thoughts about Bemidji’s future.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Input from the Minnesota Design Team visit is currently being utilized in the creation of the Greater Bemidji Area's Comprehensive Plan.
Descriptive File:
Mayana Rice and the Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Board
For more information contact:
Casey Mai (City staff) | casey.mai@jpbgba.org | 218-759-3594
2 star - Action 2:

Locate or lease a school, city building or other government facility that has at least two of these attributes:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
a) There are a number of government facilities located in downtown Bemidji, including City Hall, the Bemidji Public Library, the Beltrami County Campus, Indian Health Services, and more. These facilities are in a thriving downtown area where they are adjacent to numerous local businesses.
b) City Hall and the Bemidji Public Library both have bike racks to encourage access by biking. They are located in the downtown area, which is well connected by sidewalks and crosswalks to facilitate pedestrian access. A number of other governmental facilities are also located downtown to encourage pedestrian access, including the Beltrami County Office, Beltrami County Jail, Beltrami County Health and Human Services, Beltrami County Sheriff, as well as the Bemidji Fire Department.
c) Paul Bunyan Transit will provide transit service to all government facilities in town through their Dial-A-Ride program.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Michelle Miller (City staff) | michelle.miller@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 218-759-3561
1 star - Action 3:

Modify a planned unit development ordinance to emphasize mixed use development, to limit residential PUDs to areas adjacent to commercial development, and/or to add sustainability features.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Bemidji has specific procedures for PUDs and CICs that emphasize mixed-use development.
For example, on page XI-6 of section 1103D, the code specifies that "developers are encouraged to provide a mixed use, residential and commercial, development when replacing former high density, industrial and commercial uses."

To see the full plan, click on the jpb's website above then click the left-hand tab "Ordinances, Maps & Agreements," the link to the most recent plan should be highlighted from there.

5/1/15: Lake Bemidji South Shore Development, General Planned Unit Development project: Adopted November 6, 2009. PUD guidelines available through City Hall.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Michelle Miller (City staff) | michelle.miller@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 218-759-3561
3 star - Action 5:

Have a downtown zoning district that allows residential and compatible commercial development.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Downtown Zoning District Zoning Ordinances, Page 66 of doc. in hyperlink.

Urban Renaissance(UR): Provide areas for retail, recreational,
and governmental functions in a high
amenity setting, accessible by
automobile but conducive to
pedestrians and bicyclists.

Vertical mixed-use is very common in downtown Bemidji. Typically retail land uses with residential units on the upper level.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Cory Boushee (City staff) | cory.boushee@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 2187593582

Design for Natural Resource Conservation {BP no.10}

3 star - Action 7:

Be recognized under the Bird City Minnesota or Community Wildlife Habitat program.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2017
Implementation details:
On June 11th Minnesota Audubon designated Bemidji as the state’s third Bird City. A group of local organizations led by the Mississippi Headwaters Audubon Society worked with the City of Bemidji to identify conservation activities which fulfill 18 specific Bird City criteria. These include taking actions to create and protect habitat; promote use of native plant species; create and protect nesting opportunities; practice conservation planning, reduce collisions with windows; increase awareness of birds in the community; educate and engage youth audiences; and promote citizen science monitoring and research. A community needs 7 to qualify. Together, Bemidji Bird City Partners are already engaged in fifteen.

Among the activities included in Bemidji’s Bird City application was an initiative called "Birds, Bees, & Butterflies - Bemidji" (BBBB). The Mississippi Headwaters Audubon Society, Bemidji Monarch Committee and several other local organizations and businesses have joined together in a campaign to promote the planting of native trees, shrubs, and wildflowers in our community to benefit birds and pollinators. Projects in 2017 included installing demonstration gardens featuring bird and pollinator-friendly plants (library, city park, BSU, elementary school, 2 local businesses) and highlighting them with BBBB signage; hosting a Monarch Festival; development and distribution of a BBBB educational brochure and web materials; presentations to various groups; and establishing a partnership with local nurseries and garden centers to display BBBB signs and materials and help customers find native plants available in their greenhouses.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
The general goal is to create broader community awareness and pride in the value of native plants to birds, pollinators and people. In 2017 the metrics that we were tracking were # volunteer hours in these activities (850); number of demonstration gardens and landscapes installed and/or highlighted around town (8); # plants planted or sold (2500); # people engaged in BBBB events and activities (400).
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Peter Buesseler (Community volunteer) | pgbues@paulbunyan.net | 218-760-3592

Transportation Transportation

Living Streets {BP no.11}

1 star - Action 1:

Adopt a complete streets policy, or a living streets policy, which addresses landscaping and stormwater.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City of Bemidji passed a Complete Streets Resolution on January 11, 2011 (see attached file).
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
This commitment is recognized in both the Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Zoning Ordinance, Section 1010 on X-25, which deals with Non-Motorized Transportation, and also the Greater Bemidji Area Transportation Plan, which contains a section on Complete Streets on page 20.

The GBAJPB Zoning Ordinance and the Transportation Plan can both be found on the Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Board's website under "Zoning Ordinance, Maps, and Agreements" or by following this link: http://www.jpbgba.org/index.asp?Type=B_BASIC&SEC={4C86D582-7B17-49D5-AC6B-5054BCE63846}&DE={8F42DCF7-5690-4689-B686-48FF0BAE1AB9}
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
David Hansen (City staff) | david.hansen@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 218-333-1855
3 star - Action 5:

Identify and remedy street-trail gaps between city streets and off-road trails/bike trails to better facilitate walking and biking.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Bemidji has a series of biking and pedestrian trails that connect the city to key areas outside of town, such as Lake Bemidji State Park, the Paul Bunyan Trail, and the South Shore Development area (see attached route map). The Paul Bunyan Trail Bridge was opened and dedicated in September of 2012. This bridge, usable by both pedestrians and bicyclists, spans Hwy 197 and connects a major gap in the Paul Bunyan Trail and facilitates walking and biking across the highway. See attached map for bicycle and pedestrian trails.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
Active Living Bemidji, MN Dept. of Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Trails
For more information contact:
Kent Ehrenstrom (Community volunteer) | kent.ehrenstrom@state.mn.us | 218-755-6555
2 star - Action 6:

Implement traffic calming policy/measures, including lane conversions (road diets), roundabouts, shared space and depaving, in at least one street redevelopment project.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City of Bemidji implemented traffic calming measures in the South Shore Development project by installing two roundabouts on the roads near the Sanford Center (along Event Center Dr and Grant Ave).
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Kent Ehrenstrom (Community volunteer) | kent.ehrenstrom@state.mn.us | 218-755-6555

Mobility Options {BP no.12}

3 star - Action 1:

Increase walking, biking and transit use by one or more of the following means:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Bemidji was recognized by the League of American Bicyclists as a Bicycle Friendly Community at the Bronze level in October of 2012.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
Natalie Gille, Bike Alliance of MN
For more information contact:
Michelle Miller (City staff) | michelle.miller@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 218-759-3561
2 star - Action 2:

Conduct an Active Living campaign such as a Safe Routes to School program.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Bemidji currently has a Safe Routes to School program, the details of which can be found in the attached file.

Additionally, Bemidji strives to increase walking and biking in the community, improve general health, and encourage changing behaviors and attitudes toward physical activity through the Active Living Bemidji program, which is in its 4th year of implementation.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
Josh Pearson, Active Living Bemidji Program Manager
For more information contact:
Michelle Miller (City staff) | michelle.miller@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 218-759-3561
2 star - Action 6:

Add/expand transit service, or promote car/bike sharing.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Nice Ride Minnesota is a non-profit organization that provides public bike sharing to the Twin Cities and is expanding its operation to the Bemidji area. 200 bikes will be made available to the Bemidji community this June.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
Nice Ride MN
For more information contact:
Michelle Miller (City staff) | michelle.miller@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 218-759-3561

Environmental Management Environmental Management

Sustainable Purchasing {BP no.15}

1 star - Action 1:

Adopt a sustainable purchasing policy or administrative guidelines/practices directing that the city purchase at least:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
In spite of the challenges that come with being in greater Minnesota with less access to competitively priced alternatives for sustainable procurement, Bemidji has created an administrative policy that specifies the purchasing of EnergyStar and recycled paper for city functions whenever practicable.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Michelle Miller (City staff) | michelle.miller@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 218-759-3561
1 star - Action 7:

Lower the environmental footprint of meetings and events in the city.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Practice 15, Step 7:City Council and City Manager have adopted a paperless meeting practice by receiving their agenda and packet electronically and viewing it by an IPAD supplied by the City.Implemented January 2013
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Michelle Miller (City staff) | michelle.miller@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 218-759-3561

Community Forests and Soils {BP no.16}

1 star - Action 1:

Certify as a Tree City USA.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Bemidji has been certified as a Tree City for 22 years.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Marcia Larson (City staff) | marcia.larson@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 218-333-1860
3 star - Action 6:

Build community capacity to protect existing trees by one or more of:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City of Bemidji has four Parks and Recreation staff members that are certified Tree Inspectors. The Parks Department is also currently working on an emerald ash bore preparedness plan, with the help of Gary Johnson from the Dept. of Forest Resources at the University of Minnesota. They conducted a volunteer-driven tree inventory this summer and are currently waiting for the analysis.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
Department of Forest Resources at University of Minnesota
For more information contact:
Marcia Larson (City staff) | marcia.larson@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 218-333-1860

Stormwater Management {BP no.17}

1 star - Action 3:

Adopt by ordinance one or more of the following stormwater infiltration/management strategies:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City of Bemidji has adopted an illicit stormwater discharge ordinance (see attached document) and the Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Board also has an ordinance on Storm Water Management, located in Section 912 on page IX-16, which can be found in the hyperlink.

Stormwater Design Guide Adopted January 2008
http://www.ci.bemidji.mn.us/vertical/sites/%7BDC40720D-A823-4643-91CD-6456402D11F6%7D/uploads/%7BAED0500C-7624-4F8F-987D-C3835A31F3A4%7D.PDF
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
Craig Gray, City Engineer
For more information contact:
Shon Snopl (City staff) | shon.snopl@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 218-333-1852
1 star - Action 4:

Create a stormwater utility that uses variable fees to incentivize stormwater infiltration, minimize the volume of and pollutants in runoff, and educate property owners.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Stormwater Utility Resolution and Fee Schedule was passed Resolution 4853 Adopted June 4, 2001; Fee Schedule 2015(page 6)
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Shon Snopl (City staff) | shon.snopl@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 218-333-1852
1 star - Action 5:

Adopt and implement guidelines or design standards/incentives for at least one of the following stormwater infiltration/reuse practices:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Project 1: Impervious surface limitation for stormwater management are part of Bemidji Zoning Ordinances. Adopted March 15, 2007

http://www.jpbgba.org/vertical/sites/%7B134ED1DD-8F5D-4B72-9D00-AFD6CD25F943%7D/uploads/2014-04-09_Revised_JPB_Zoning_Ordinance.pdf

d) Erosion and Sedimentation Control ordinance adopted December 19, 2007.

https://www.municode.com/library/mn/bemidji/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTIICOOR_CH14EN_ARTVIIERSECO

other: Prohibition of the use and sale of coal tar sealant products Adopted December 2, 2013.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Zoning ordinance, Section 914, page 135

d) Erosion and Sedimentation Control
Zoning Ordinance, Section 302, page 135

other: https://www.municode.com/library/mn/bemidji/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTIICOOR_CH14EN_ARTIXENSTPRUSSACOTASEPR


Descriptive File:
City Council,Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Board
For more information contact:
Shon Snopl (City staff) | shon.snopl@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 218-333-1852
Not rated - Action 6:

Reduce de-icing and dust suppressant salt use to prevent permanent surfacewater and groundwater pollution.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Erosion and Sedimentation Control ordinance adopted December 19, 2007.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
Craig Gray, City Engineer
For more information contact:
Michelle Miller (City staff) | michelle.miller@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 218-759-3561

Parks and Trails {BP no.18}

1 star - Action 1:

Make improvements within your city's system of parks, offroad trails and open spaces.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The Paul Bunyan Trail Bridge was opened and dedicated in September of 2012. This bridge, usable by both pedestrians and bicyclists, spans Hwy 197 and connects a major gap in the Paul Bunyan Trail and facilitates walking and biking across the highway. The Paul Bunyan Trail Bridge Project was a collaboration between the City of Bemidji and the MN Department of Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Trails.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
MN Dept. of Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Trails
For more information contact:
Marcia Larson (City staff) | marcia.larson@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 218-333-1860
1 star - Action 2:

Plan and budget for a network of parks, green spaces, water features and trails for areas where new development is planned.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City of Bemidji requires parkland dedication fees for new subdivisions, as noted in Chapter 22 (Subdivisions), Article III of the City Code, “Dedication of Parks, Open Spaces, Trails, and Public Sites” (see attached PDF). This aligns with what has been laid out in the Master Park Plan that was adopted by the City Council in 2011, which works to identify areas where parks would be needed. Two maps from the Park Plan can be found through the attached hyperlink, and the full text of the Park Plan is available for viewing in hardcopy at City Hall in Bemidji.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
Marcia Larson, Bemidji Parks and Recreation
For more information contact:
Marcia Larson (City staff) | marcia.larson@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 218-333-1860
2 star - Action 8:

Develop a program to involve community members in hands-on land restoration, invasive species management and stewardship projects.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City of Bemidji has a “Park Partners” program (see uploaded brochure). Park Partners is a partnership between Bemidji Parks and Recreation and citizen volunteers to improve and maintain Bemidji’s natural environment, educate the community, and keep our parks and trails clean, green, and safe. Parks and Recreation has also utilizes community volunteers and Park Partners for special ongoing projects, such as various tree planting initiatives, the Community Tree Inventory (started in 2011), and the Cameron Park Shoreland Buffer project (begun in 2010, with additional plantings and extensions in 2011 and 2012). Volunteers from Minnesota Youth Core and Camp Rabideau Youth were also utilized in the planting of the shoreland buffer. The goal of the Cameron Park Shoreland Buffer project is to reduce run-off directly into the lake, reduce shoreline erosion, increase wildlife habitat, and reduce the amount of mowing required.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
Marcia Larson, Bemidji Parks and Recreation
For more information contact:
Marcia Larson (City staff) | marcia.larson@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 218-333-1860

Surface Water {BP no.19}

1 star - Action 2:

Conduct or support multi-party community conversations, assessments, plans around improving local water quality and quantity.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
On April 23, a grease waste reduction presentation occurred on the Bemidji State University campus in which community members, restaurant managers and employees, and city staff were invited to attend. This presentation was a collaborative effort among a MN GreenCorps member, City Sewer & Water Superintendent, Wastewater Treatment Facility Co-Superintendent, as well as students from a People and the Environment Course at Bemidji State University. 20 individuals from the community attended this event as well as 2 city council members. The second half of the presentation was a question and answer forum regarding ways Grease Waste Reduction can improve water quality in our area.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
City of Bemidji Wastewater Treatment Facilities; City of Bemidji Sewer and Water
For more information contact:
Al Gorick (City staff) | al.gorick@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 218-333-1865
1 star - Action 4:

Adopt a shoreland ordinance for all river and lake shoreland areas; reduce flooding and costs through The National Flood Insurance Program's Community Rating System.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2007
Implementation details:
Article IX: Shoreland Regulations
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Cory Boushee (City staff) | cory.boushee@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 2187593582

Efficient Water and Wastewater Systems {BP no.20}

2 star - Action 1:

Compare the energy use and financial performance of your facilities with other peer plants using standardized, free tools.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Data on energy consumption from the Waste Water Treatment Plant has been on B3 Benchmarking since 2007.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Al Gorick (City staff) | al.gorick@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 218-333-1865
1 star - Action 6:

Implement a wastewater plant efficiency project (co-generation, water reuse) or a program for local private business operations (water conservation, water reuse, business co-location).

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
A grease waste reduction project commenced in September 2013 to reduce the amounts of fats, oils and greases entering the Wastewater Treatment facility by 10%. Baseline measurements of FOG were taken and compared with years prior and a collaborative education initiative is underway to educate restaurants and commercial kitchen operators about best management practices for FOG waste. The first of many conversations about this topic occurred on April 23rd at a public presentation entitled, "Grease Waste in Bemidji: Cleaning Up the Headwaters."
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Al Gorick (City staff) | al.gorick@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 218-333-1865

Septic Systems {BP no.21}

2 star - Action 4:

Adopt a subsurface sewage treatment system ordinance based on the Association of Minnesota Counties' model ordinance.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2007
Implementation details:
Article VIII: Sanitation Standards

The JPB enforces its own ordinance regarding SSTS within the geographical area of the JPB.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Cory Boushee (City staff) | cory.boushee@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 2187593582

Local Air Quality {BP no.23}

3 star - Action 3:

Conduct one or more policy or education/behavior change campaigns on the topics below and document:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
d.) In 2010, students at Bemidji State University approached administration to implement a 100% smoke free campus. A smoking ban was implemented for all of campus including the residential halls in April of 2011.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Michelle Miller (City staff) | michelle.miller@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 218-759-3561

Resilient Economic & Community Development Resilient Economic and Community Development

Benchmarks and Community Engagement {BP no.24}

2 star - Action 1:

Use a city commission, or committee to lead, coordinate, and report to and engage community members on implementation of sustainability best practices.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
a) In December 2013, the Bemidji Sustainability Committee reported to City Council Bemidji's progress with MN GreenStep Cities. The Sustainability Committee will now have an opportunity to report their initiatives including their work with MN GreenStep Cities to the council on a quarterly basis.
b) The first-ever GreenStep Cities Celebration was held on Jan. 18th. About 100 community members attended the event including members of the City Council.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Anna Carlson (Community volunteer) | amcarlson2@bemidjistate.edu | 218-755-2979
2 star - Action 2:

Organize goals/outcome measures from all city plans and report to community members data that show progress toward meeting these goals.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The city of Bemidji produces an annual budget report where goals and performance are outlined. The report is presented and discussed at city council meetings that are open to the public and aired on public television. There is also a copy archived on the city’s website. Quarterly updates on Greenstep cities progress are also presented at city council meetings by the city’s Sustainability Committee. Furthermore, the Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Board is working with the city and engaging the community in a Comprehensive Planning process that is developing sustainability goals that act as guidelines for city growth and development.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Anna Carlson (Community volunteer) | amcarlson2@bemidjistate.edu | 218-755-2979
2 star - Action 4:

Conduct or support a broad sustainability education and action campaign involving:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Sustainable Tuesdays is a partnership program with the Indigenous Environmental Network, the Minnesota GreenCorps, the Rail River Folk School, and Bemidji State University’s Sustainability Office. The mission of Sustainable Tuesdays is to draw on the strengths of the diversity in our region to create a sustainable Bemidji. This program provides a variety of sustainable learning opportunities, ranging from workshops where community members learn sustainable practices to apply in their lives, to discussions focused on environmental issues in our region and the world. This program covers a range of topics, like energy conservation, local food, water quality, green living, and much more. Sustainable Tuesdays is a community event that is free and open to the public. Programming is offered every Tuesday from 5:30 to 7:30pm at the Rail River Folk School.
The Green Living Bemidji blog contains an archive of Sustainable Tuesday events and includes weekly coverage of the programming. The Green Living Bemidji blog is shared on the Bemidji Pioneer’s website and is also shared on a weekly listserv to over 250 community members.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
Indigenous Environmental Network, Minnesota GreenCorps, Rail River Folk School, Bemidji State University Sustainability Office
For more information contact:
Michelle Miller (City staff) | michelle.miller@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 218-759-3561
3 star - Action 5:

Conduct or support a community education, visioning and planning initiative using a sustainability framework such as:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Bemidji Sustainability Committee articles in local paper- The Pioneer. Members of committee submit one article about sustainability initiatives per month to paper for publication. Themes range but include permaculture. Monthly; started Feb. 2015

BP 24, 5.c: Permaculture Design Charrette was held to give participants an introduction to Permaculture, and to provide a design for an urban homeowner. 8/2014 Designed an 8 hour PC course to be conducted at a home. Participants learned about permaculture through lecture and hands on activities and came up with the final design.
&
Permaculture Tuesdays once a month at RRFS - part of Sustainable Tuesday programs. Each month we have 5+ participants and a different topics. Ongoing.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
BSU Sustainability Office, RRFS, BSU Sustainability Office, IEN, Solarrhythms Permaculture
For more information contact:
Diana Kuklinski (Community volunteer) | dianamk50@gmail.com | 218-760-1557

Green Business Development {BP no.25}

1 star - Action 1:

Grow new/emerging green businesses and green jobs through targeted assistance and new workforce development.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
#25 - action steps 1, 6, and 7: Provided assistance to Harmony energy audit, solar awning and EnergyStar certification. Harmony participates in "buy local" campaigns.Wrote CERTS grant proposal, met with Harmony sustainability committee, assisted in implementation, did solar site assessment and awning design, etc.Installed solar awning; obtained EPA EnergyStar certification; conducted RE business forum, participated in sustainable places and MRES tours, Pioneer article. Ongoing - started Jan 2014 and continuing
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
Colleen Bakken and Christine Szama,of Harmony Food Co-op, Erika BJ of Bemidji State University, CERTS, RREAL
For more information contact:
Diana Kuklinski (Community volunteer) | dianamk50@gmail.com | 218-760-1557
1 star - Action 7:

Conduct or participate in a buy local campaign for community members and local businesses.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
An intern with the Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning board has been working in collaboration with local organizations and businesses to produce a "local campaign" for the Bemidji area. Efforts have included compiling a list locally owned businesses, food producers, farms, artists, studios, restaurants, independent health practitioners, and local trail maps. This local campaign will provide the Bemidji area with information about local food, health providers, local energy options, local recreation, local art, and local businesses under one umbrella website.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Board
For more information contact:
Michelle Miller (City staff) | michelle.miller@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 218-759-3561

Renewable Energy {BP no.26}

1 star - Action 1:

Adopt wind energy and/or biomass ordinances that allow, enable, or encourage appropriate renewable energy installations.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
In section 1024 of the GBA's Zoning and Planning Ordinances, especially on page X-46, the code emphasizes the need to accommodate the community's sustainable energy needs by encouraging "wind energy conversion systems to be located on properties in a manner which minimizes potential negative impacts upon adjacent properties."
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Board
For more information contact:
Casey Mai (City staff) | casey.mai@jpbgba.org | 218-759-3594
1 star - Action 2:

Promote resident/business purchases and/or generation of clean energy by:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City of Bemidji has a display located in City Hall to showcase the green power purchasing programs offered by our local utilities, Otter Tail Power Company and Beltrami Electric Cooperative.

Otter Tail Power Company has a program called TailWinds and Beltrami Electric Cooperative offers Infinity Wind Energy. Brochures with information about how customers can utilize these programs are located in this display, along with other resources about local renewable energy, such as the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL) based in Pine River, MN.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Michelle Miller (City staff) | michelle.miller@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 218-759-3561
3 star - Action 3:

Promote financing and incentive programs such as PACE for clean energy:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Beltrami County signed into a Joint Powers Agreement with the Saint Paul Port Authority, establishing Beltrami County as a PACE district. Any business, non-profit, or multi-family housing unit in the county (therefore Bemidji) can utilize PACE to cover the up front financing for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
HRDC; CERTs
For more information contact:
Anna Carlson (Community volunteer) | amcarlson2@bemidjistate.edu | 218-755-2979

Local Food {BP no.27}

2 star - Action 2:

Facilitate creation of home/community gardens, chicken & bee keeping, and incorporation of food growing areas/access in multifamily residential developments.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Section 1020 of the GBAJPB Zoning Ordinance states under section D that beekeeping is allowed within city limits with several rules attached to that permission.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
Rail River Folk School
For more information contact:
Michelle Miller (City staff) | michelle.miller@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 218-759-3561
2 star - Action 3:

Create, assist with and promote local food production/distribution within the city:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
a) Bemidji is host to two different farmer’s markets: Bemidji’s Natural Choice Farmers Market and the Bemidji Area Farmers Market.


Bemidji’s Natural Choice Farmer’s Market is located in Union Square parking lot (off 2nd St and Beltrami Ave) and is open twice a week (Saturdays from 8:30 to 3pm and Wednesdays from 11 to 4pm) from May through late October. The vendors include small-acreage, home based, family-businesses and farms located in and around the Bemidji area, and they provide fresh, high-quality local produce and other products. More information, including a list of vendors, can be found at http://naturalchoicemarket.org/.


The Bemidji Area Farmer’s Market is located in the Pamida/Subway parking lot at 200 Paul Bunyan Drive South and is open seasonally on Sundays from 11 to 4, Tuesdays from 10-5, Thursdays from 12-6, and Saturdays from 9-3. The Bemidji Area Farmers Market is a non-profit corporation recognized by both state and federal government, serving the Greater Bemidji area. The market is operated by a board of directors made up of both market members and community minded individuals. They strongly encourage members to donate food products to the food shelf, soup kitchen and other like organizations. More information can be found at http://bemidjifarmersmarket.com/our-mission/.


b) Bemidji supports a number of local CSAs who have partnerships with local community organizations. For example, a portion of Chill Creek Ridge’s CSA investments go to support the Rail River Folk School (http://chillcreekridge.csasignup.com/members/types). Farmucopia, another local CSA, also supports Harmony Foods Cooperative and will be providing produce to local schools through the Farm to School program (http://www.farmucopia-csa.com/author/admin/). Northern Light Farm (http://www.localharvest.org/northern-light-farm-M7072) is another prominent CSA in the Bemidji area.


c) A campus garden began at Bemidji State University in the summer of 2011, giving students the option to grow their own organic food. There are a total of 28 plots, with the option of planting extra seeds on the outside of the fence for the public to use for free. The Gitigaan Garden is located across from the campus library on Birch Lane and 16th. The 2012 year was a great success, with all the plots filled. The City of Bemidji also provides community garden plots at Nymore Park.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Michelle Miller (City staff) | michelle.miller@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 218-759-3561