Home   |   About   |   Best Practices   |   Steps 1-5   |   Recognition   |   All Cities   |   Ordinances   |  City log-in   |   Contact           Stay Connected

    City of Moorhead  

Background Information

County:   Clay
Population:   42,005
GreenStep City category:   A

Full-time equivalent city staff (approx.):   250

Participating township, county, school:

GreenStep City resolution:   Click here to view the file.
GreenStep City status and date:   STEP 1 (07/24/2017)

GreenStep Coordinator

Dan Mahli
City staff

City web page relating to sustainability/GreenStep activities:

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 Files below summarize completed city actions in a short Word file. Step 4 recognition is awarded each June to cities who report a minimum number of optional (and a few high-priority/core) metrics for the previous calendar year. These metrics - see guidance documents for them at http://www.betterenergy.org/step4 - aim to show the aggregate, quantitative results of taking multiple GreenStep actions. Step 5 cities show improvement beyond minimum thresholds in the Step 4 metrics. See yearly data in the Metrics Files below.

Assessment Files
2018 - click to view assessment


Best Practice Actions Underway and Completed

Completed actions are denoted by stars. Mouse over a star for its definition.
Total completed actions: 27     1-star actions: 4     2-star actions: 11     3-star actions: 12    

Buildings and Lighting   Buildings and Lighting

Efficient Existing Private Buildings
{ BP no. 2 }

Program activities include but are not limited to: information/education efforts via newsletters and the like; work with the local utility, local Community Action Program, local bank, or others; promote utility load management programs (fuel-switching, AC/water heater cycling); program participation reports. Report a rebate program to promote purchases of WaterSense-rated appliances under action 2.5; report work with businesses under action 25.2; report broad sustainability campaigns that go beyond energy efficiency under action 24.4
One or more of: provide more in-depth energy use reports; explicitly focus on improved indoor air quality; partner with others on low-interest loans, assistance to homeowners on weatherization, efficiency improvements; resident participation in the National Mayor's Challenge for Water Conservation.
Create a city program and report on number of households participating (e.g. took advantage of rebates, loans, grants, attended workshops, received home energy audit) and dollars or BTUs or therms saved.
Action 1: Create or participate in a marketing/outreach program to promote/achieve residential energy/water use reduction and energy efficiency.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  

Incentives include lower interest loans, lowered building or equipment permit fees; note what improvements/equipment qualify and if a revolving loan fund was used. Private parties include builders, homeowners, businesses, institutions. Report renewable energy financing programs such as PACE under action 26.3
Incentives include a utility-bill payment option, grants, rebates or tax breaks (e.g., property tax abatement) or expedited permit review.
Note incentives used, such as a density bonus or green building design assistance, for certified green building or ones incorporating district energy. Report buildings meeting the SB 2030 energy standard.
Action 6: Provide a financial or other incentive to private parties who add energy/sustainability improvements, meet the SB 2030 energy standard, or renovate using a green building or energy framework.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  

Efficient Outdoor Lighting and Signals
{ BP no. 4 }

Install at least one LED/solar-powered flashing sign, for example, warning flashers and wayfinding/signage lighting.
Install PV-powered or LED lighting as a pilot in a street, parking lot or park project. Examples include seasonally used park lighting (ice rinks, lighting in flood-prone areas, etc.).
Install routinely, as matter of policy, LED or solar powered lighting in street, parking lot or park projects.
Action 5: Use LED/solar-powered lighting for a flashing sign or in a street, parking lot or park project.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  

Replace lighting in 50% of structures with Dark-Sky compliant, energy efficient lighting technologies.
Replace lighting in 75% of structures with Dark-Sky compliant, energy efficient, automatic dimming lighting technologies.
Replace 100% city-owned parking lot lighting with Dark-Sky compliant, energy efficient, automatic dimming lighting technologies.
Action 7: Replace city-owned parking lot/ramp lighting with Dark-Sky compliant, energy efficient, automatic dimming lighting technologies.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  

Land Use   Land Use

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

Adopt a comp plan that is less than ten years old or adopt a land use plan that was adopted by the county or a regional entity less than 15 years ago, or Category B & C cities may adopt a city vision that looks at least 20 years into the future.
Include in your plan a sustainability section/chapter, an active living/placemaking/bike-ped section, or integrate sustainability goals and strategies into all chapters of your comprehensive plan, or articulate land development principles for creating a complete, compact and connected community. Report climate protection or energy independence goals and objectives under action 6.5
Adopt a development goal that new/infill projects generate enough tax revenue to pay for the related public infrastructure maintenance/replacement over multiple life cycles; reference a capital improvement plan that catalogues public system maintenance obligations by date and cost; create 'green zones' that focus environmental improvements in under-served areas of the city; adopt the Precautionary Principle.
Action 1: Adopt a comprehensive plan or (for Category B & C cities) adopt a land use plan that was adopted by the county or a regional entity.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  

Document where in the zoning code or development regulation the comprehensive plan is referenced as a foundational document or that the purpose of the code is to implement the comprehensive plan.
Comprehensive plan referenced in all land use and development ordinances and regulations in addition to zoning code ordinances.
Individual ordinances or ordinance sections should be introduced with a "Purposes" section that includes language such as the following: "The XXX regulations specifically implement the following goals from the Comprehensive Plan: "
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.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  

Include plan requirements (in a comp plan or another planning document) on coordinated action with surrounding or overlapping jurisdictions for several of these issues: land use, watershed/groundwater impacts, transportation, sewer and water, economic development, housing and foreclosures, police, fire, health; adopt a wellhead / source water protection plan.
Convene discussions or enter into agreements (joint service or others) with surrounding communities on at least 3 of these issues; adopt a comp plan goal to monitor and/or remediate all LUSTs within the city's DWSMA/SWPA.
Jointly invest in infrastructure to avoid duplication or improve performance; as part of inter-city discussions mentor another GreenStep city.
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.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  

For cities adjacent to undeveloped land, establish a growth area with staging criteria that reflects projected population growth (projected no more than ten years in the future) and, if applicable, is subject to an orderly annexation agreement and planned extension of municipal services. OR, conduct a natural resource inventory (NRI) and incorporate the results into your comprehensive plan or long-term city vision. Report adoption of an urban growth boundary under action 10.2
Prioritize the NRI results through a natural resource assessment (NRA) involving the public so as to minimize the fragmentation and development of agricultural, forest, wildlife, pollinator habitat, and high quality open space lands in and around the city.
Identify priority natural resource protection areas in the comp plan and recommend strategies for integrating protection into the development process.
Action 4: Include ecologic provisions in the comprehensive plan that explicitly aim to minimize open space fragmentation and/or establish a growth area with expansion criteria.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  

Mixed Uses
{ BP no. 8 }

Two or more uses in multi-story buildings favored in the comp plan with overall goals or design guidelines.
Adopt incentives (density bonus, development assistance) for vertical mixed use development such as housing above commercial, shared parking in the downtown core.
An incentive and/or requirement for inclusionary (affordable) housing in at least one development; live/work vertical units allowed by right.
Action 7: Create incentives for vertical mixed-use development in appropriate locations (downtown, commercial districts near colleges or universities, historic commercial districts).     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  

Transportation   Transportation

Living Streets
{ BP no. 11 }

Measures such as streetscaping, bump-outs, raised cross walks, intersection markings, medians and narrower lane widths. Report temporary or permanent parklet installations under action 14.1
Measures such as roundabouts, and road diets where 3 lanes replace 4 lanes of a road with under 20,000 average annual daily traffic counts; adopt a traffic calming policy.
Measures from street reclaiming, naked streets, shared space, woonerfs, and Paint the Pavement approaches; diverging diamond interchange, J-turn lane; a multi-modal Level of Service metric developed and applied to road projects; conversion of underused/redundant roads to gravel roads, stormwater management, energy generation, etc.
Action 6: Implement traffic calming policy/measures, including road diets, roundabouts, shared space and depaving, in at least one street redevelopment project.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  

Mobility Options
{ BP no. 12 }

A basic map that shows (by neighborhood if a larger city) key civic/commercial sites, best bike and pedestrian routes, and transit routes and schedules; as needed distribute print materials in different languages; report increases in walk/bike counts.
Installed infrastructure such as designed bike or pedestrian or transit facilities like park and ride lots (report sidewalks/bike lanes under action 11.4), OR document the increase in employeer-offered transportation fringe benefits, OR report a Walk Score of 70+ or an increase in your city's Walk Score.
Be recognized as a Bicycle or Walk Friendly Community, OR require routine installation of infrastructure, such as bike parking, for all new multifamily and non-residential developments, OR allow property owners to substitute bike parking spaces for required car parking spaces.
Action 1: Increase walking, biking and transit use by one or more of the following means:     [Click here for self-reported city details ] a. Produce/distribute route maps, signage or a web site.

b. Document increased bike facilities, such as racks, bike stations or showers.

c. Add bus infrastructure, such as signage, benches, shelters, park and ride lots, and real-time arrival data-streaming.

d. Increase the number of employers promoting multiple commuting options, including offering qualified transportation fringe benefits instead of only a tax-free parking fringe benefit.

e. Be recognized as a Walk Friendly or Bicycle Friendly Community.

Describe elements of a SRTS program in which the city is involved; note how many schools are affected, how the program addresses evaluation, encouragement, education, engineering, and enforcement, and whether the city worked in concert with the local community health board. Report shared use agreements between cities and school parks under action 18.1
Describe key elements of your non-SRTS efforts, such as which actions you are challenging which number of people/organizations to take, and how long the campaign is/will run; report collaboration/funding from your local Community Health Board (SHIP funding); host an Open Streets or Ciclovias event to temporarily make a street a pedestrian-only zone.
Report outcome measures, such as increased walking/biking in the community, improved health outcomes, percent student body covered by SRTS programming, and school bus fuel savings.
Action 2: Launch an Active Living campaign such as a Safe Routes to School program.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  

Page on chamber of commerce site includes links to one or more services.
Page on city web site includes links to one or more services; note discounts for different populations (children, students, elderly, low-income).
Information includes or has easy links to costs, routes, operation hours, etc.; promote interconnections among different services.
Action 3: Prominently identify mobility options: transit; paratransit/Dial-A-Ride; ridesharing/cab services; rental cars; bikes.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  

Develop and/or distribute education materials.
Develop a rideboard or partner with a ridesharing online service to create a rideboard/carpool matching service.
Facilitate carpooling/ridesharing via an annual challenge campaign, or by creating a park and ride lot.
Action 4: Promote carpooling or ridesharing among community members, city employees, businesses, high schools and institutions of higher education.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  

Add or expand transit in your city or between your city and other destinations, working with other units of local governments as needed.
Add/expand Saturday or Sunday bus service; add dial-a-ride to regular service; assist in the creation of or promote the existance of a car sharing business or bike sharing business/service; embed a transit station/stop in a transit-oriented/mixed-use district. Report supportive changes in parking requirements under action 14.1
Bike-sharing in a small city; schedule transit service for at least every 30 minutes during peak hours so that 75% of city addresses are within 1/2 mile of a transit stop.
Action 6: Add/expand transit service, or promote car/bike sharing.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  

Environmental Management   Environmental Management

Urban Forests & Soils
{ BP no. 16 }

Certified for current year.
Certified for 30 or more years, or recent recipient of a Growth award.
Certified for at least 10 years with an annual tree budget (for maintenance, planting, replacements, removals) of at least $8 per resident (4X the Tree City requirement) or have calculated and publicized the financial and other benefits of trees to your city.
Action 1: Certify as a Tree City USA.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  

Street trees are provided on both sides of at least 60% of the main downtown street at intervals averaging no more than about 40 feet, excluding driveways, utility vaults and street portions inhospitable to trees. Report living snow fences under action 9.3
Major effort providing or offering residents / businesses trees to plant on private property.
Maximize tree planting/landscaping on the entire blocks along mainstreet by, for example, funneling money from a business improvement district to alley plantings, pocket/corner parks, parking lot plantings behind buildings, a community depaving party, and the like.
Action 4: Maximize tree planting along your main downtown street or throughout the city.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  

Enact an ordinance that preserves/replaces trees and soils and encourages resilient, non-invasive landscaping. Report protection of large wooded areas by means of zoning or development review under best practice action 10.3
Address tree preservation and soils conservation on both public and private lands; enact requirements such as removing requirements to establish turf grass (this does not refer to removing maintenance standards for turf grass) and permitting resilient, non-invasive native landscaping throughout the city.
Adopt quantitative performance metrics; require approval of a tree preservation plan before development (tree inventory, tree saving zones, soil preservation measures, tree replacement for damaged/destroyed trees at a 2:1 ratio or greater).
Action 5: Adopt a tree preservation or native landscaping ordinance.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  

Parks and Trails
{ BP no. 18 }

Have in the city's subdivision chapter code language requiring dedication of open spaces, parks, and drainage easements or, in lieu of that, cash with each new subdivision. Report conservation design to create wildlife corridors under action 10.1
Dedication required for new developments over 1 acre; create and adopt a conceptual parks and green connections plan for greenfield areas having or planned to have urban services or redevelopment areas; integrate into existing Park/Open Space/Trail Plan if one is in place.
Achieve 2 star rating AND require demonstration of bike/ped trail connections for all new housing to existing trail network as part of the subdivision submittal.
Action 2: Plan and budget for a network of parks, green spaces, water features and trails for areas where new development is planned.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  

There exist at least 7 acres of municipal park land per 1000 residents.
At least 20% of total city land area is in protected green infrastructure (parks and protected natural resource areas, trails, publicly accessible school green space).
90% or more of residents are within a 10-minute walk, or within one-half mile of, a park or other protected green/blue space; report your ParkScore
Action 3: Achieve minimum levels of city green space and maximize the percent within a ten-minute walk of community members.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  

Create an annual event or ongoing 'adopt a park' effort for volunteer trash cleanup of open space, buckthorn removal, etc. for parks or selected public open space areas. Event can be in cooperation with other organizations. Report gardens plots in city parks under BP 27.3
In addition to cleanup and removal of exotics (1 Star), engage community members in annual restoration of natural areas (replanting shoreland buffers, restoring prairie, etc.).
Create and fund an annual city-wide event for cleanup and restoration, engaging residents in most neighborhoods and creating a public promotion around the event.
Action 8: Develop a program to involve community members in hands-on land restoration and stewardship projects.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  

Solid Waste Prevention and Reduction
{ BP no. 22 }

Education on reuse, recycling, composting; in-store recycling of thin plastic bags & sale of reusable bags. Note that, under the Who's doing it tab, cities that have no star next to their entry are cities that entered, before 2018, an internal city operations recycling/composting action, which is now covered by action 22.1 and has been replaced by this current action on consumer products/packaging.
Public drinking fountains that encourage refilling water bottles; city ordinance on in-store fees on plastic & paper bags; credits for use of reusable bags.
City mandated recyclable/compostable egg cartons, to-go packaging.
Action 2: Address concerns over consumer products and packaging through encouragement/implementation of one or more of:     [Click here for self-reported city details ] a. Education on waste prevention and alternatives, including product stewardship / producer responsibility.

b. Reuse options.

c. Recycling / composting options.

d. Credits, fees.

e. Mandates, bans.

Require by license (and ideally also ordinance) the provision of recycling services in multi-unit residential buildings; report implementation of at least 3 "good" recycling BMPs (e.g., mandatory separation of residential recyclables, email/text recycling reminders) from https://www.pca.state.mn.us/sites/default/files/w-sw1-11.pdf Note that pre-2018 organized collection entries are listed under this action, and that post-2017 organized collection entries are under 22.7
Report the city recycling rate prominently on the city's web site (by only licensing haulers that report their data); provide as requested larger carts/2nd recycling container at no added cost to resident; collect co-mingled fiber/containers; report implementation of 3 “better” recycling BMPs from the webpage above; in greater MN, require collection of recyclables from commercial entities.
Require that each tenant in multi-unit housing has a recycling container; assure multi-unit recycling during routine city building inspections; report implementation of 3 “best” recycling BMPs from the webpage above.
Action 6: Improve recycling services and expand to multi-unit housing and commercial businesses.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  

Require trash haulers to follow the city-organized recycling collection schedule; require organized collection of residential recyclables; publish hauler rates on city's web site & require waste/recyclables tonnage reports as a condition of licensing; assist residents on X % of city blocks to arrange for 75%+ of houses to contract with 1 trash hauler; set at least a 25% price differential among 3 cart size/frequency categories (~30, 60, 90-gallons); provide a financial or other incentive (e.g. larger container) for recycling. Report compostables collection under action 22.5 Note that pre-2018 entries of cities organizing their solid waste collection service are found under action 22.6
Offer bi-weekly trash collection, ideally paired with weekly recycling (and organics); organize city-wide collection of recyclables, yard waste, source-separated organics via RFP.
Organize trash collection; contract with one/multiple, zoned haulers for trash & multi-materials, either via RFP (if previous contract) or via hauler negotiations; note estimated cost savings to residents and to city (from decreased truck traffic); note if trucks use compressed natural gas (as city license condition?); achieve 50% recycling & 10% composting rate.
Action 7: Improve/organize residential trash, recycling and organics collection by private and/or public operations and offer significant volume-based pricing on residential garbage and/or incentives for recycling.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  

Resilient Economic & Community Development   Resilient Economic & Community Development

Renewable Energy
{ BP no. 26 }

Document how the city supported a bulk-buy program of RE components (for residents, city employees, or employees of a business) or a community project organized by others. Report number of participants, installed capacity in kW and cost data. Report a city government subscription to a community solar garden under 26.6
Describe the city's role in a Community Solar Garden project (leasing roof space, providing guidance for pollinator habitat on the site, etc.).
Describe a deeper role the city/municipal utility played in creating a Solar Garden (e.g., subscribing municipal utility customers, donated city land, etc.).
Action 4: Support or create a program that enables community members to participate in a community renewable energy project.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  

Describe any public sector project and report installed capacity in kW. Report wastewater biogas projects under action 20.6, solid waste anaerobic digestion under action 22.5, and geothermal under action 1.7
Install at least two different RE technologies and report installed capacity in kW; show that a RE installation has shaved off peak energy demand and allowed the monthly utility demand charge to be decreased.
Install RE capacity in excess of 100 kW; report combined heat and power generation, parking lot PV canopies.
Action 5: Install a public sector/municipally owned renewable energy technology, such as solar electric (PV), biomass, solar hot water/air, micro-hydro or wind.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  

Business Synergies
{ BP no. 28 }

Energy/water reuse includes: reuse of non-contact industrial cooling water; reuse of hot water from a laundromat by a nearby greenhouse; use of waste heat from a crematory to heat a nearby recreation center and its pool. Record projects under best practice action 20.6 where a city wastewater plant sells reclaimed water for nonpotable ag-processing, irrigation, cooling or power plant uses, or when the plant co-generates electricity and heat and sells it to businesses.
Describe how the city facilitated at least one such project.
Report how the city is, on an ongoing basis, helping businesses complete these reuse projects and how many completed projects exist.
Action 2: Document that at least one business/building uses waste heat or water discharge from another business.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]