Thriving Earth Exchange - apply by 6/1

AGU's Thriving Earth Exchange is seeking US-based communities of all types (place-based; issue-based; value-based, etc.) interested in co-creating solutions and tools to advance community priorities to join a new cohort of communities to start in July 2021! AGU is an Earth and space science membership society of over 60,000 members who do research and study from everything from the center of the Earth to the surface of the Sun and everything in between. Communities who have worked with our scientists have been able to vet a 350ppm greenhouse gas emissions target; develop a drought vulnerability assessment; assess flood vulnerability of a food distribution center and saved millions in unnecessary remediation costs to turn some ponds into a recreational park. Join over 150 communities that are advancing their priorities in pollution, sustainability and environmental health issues - for free! For more information about our program and to apply to be considered in the July 2021 cohort, please click here. Applications will be considered for the July cohort on a rolling basis until 1 June 2021. 

Tuesday, 18 May at 4pm ET, we will host a community leader Q&A for any and all community leaders interested in working with Thriving Earth Exchange. Register for the Q&A session here:

Learn more and apply. 

Post on: 05/07/2021

MN EV Strategic Plan Public Engagement Series - 5/17-26

The Minnesota Department of Transportation invites the public to attend one or more virtual public engagement sessions it is hosting between May 17-26, 2021 to gather input about Minnesota’s Electric Vehicle (EV) Strategic Plan. There will be three general sessions and three that dive deeper on specific topics. All sessions will consider the risks, challenges and opportunities for EVs to create a more equitable transportation system in the region. Anyone can attend ANY of these sessions to provide feedback. MnDOT is especially seeking input from members of Black, Indigenous, People of Color and low-income communities. 

Much has changed in the EV landscape in the last two years with more automakers making large commitments to eliminate gasoline vehicles in the future, more EVs on the market, and a new federal administration with large EV goals. MnDOT is now looking for input on Minnesota’s EV Strategic Plan that will set the state up for success as the EV landscape continues to evolve, all while working to meet the state’s climate and public health goals.  

General Sessions 
These sessions review all strategies broadly, which are designed with an equity forward approach. 

  • Tuesday, May 18, 5:00-6:30 pm CT 
  • Thursday, May 20, 6:30-8:00 pm CT
  • Saturday, May 22, 9:30-11:00 am CT

Topic-specific Sessions 
These sessions will dive deeper into specific categories as noted below. You do not need to attend a General Session to attend a Topic-specific Session. 

  • EV delivery trucks, semis, and buses | Monday, May 17, 2:00-3:30 pm CT 
  • EV charging | Tuesday, May 25, 10:00-11:30 am CT 
  • EV passenger cars and trucks | Wednesday, May 26, 11:30 am-1:00 pm CT  

Who should attend? Anyone interested in providing input to MnDOT on how it should increase the adoption of EVs across Minnesota. We are especially seeking input from BIPOC and low-income communities.  
What is this project about? This project will establish strategies for the state of Minnesota to meet its EV adoption goal of powering 20 percent of the light-duty cars in the state with electricity by 2030 while keeping in mind its climate and public health goals. It is not part of the Clean Cars Minnesota rulemaking.  
What do I need to attend? We will be using polling via Mentimeter to gauge priorities and gather feedback. You will need to have access to a smart phone or be able to open another window on your computer to participate in the polling.

The sessions will be facilitated by the Great Plains Institute. For any questions regarding this event, or if you have trouble registering, please contact Hannah Haas,   


Learn more and register for a session.

Post on: 05/03/2021

Workshop: Leading with Language 5/6

A panel discussion sharing tips and experiences associated with gender, gender identity, and the use of inclusive language in planning.

The words we use about identities can be rooted in harmful attitudes, stereotypes, and unconscious bias. These biases are the judgments we innately make that inform our understanding, actions, and decisions. In short, the words we use matter. Equitable planning starts with inclusive language. By embracing gender-inclusive language, planners, officials, and the public agencies they represent are actively demonstrating their commitment to dismantling their biases, engaging everyone in the planning process, and building an equitable experience for all.

This panel will feature four panelists from a cross-section of the planning field and community who will share tips and experiences associated with gender, gender identity, and the use of inclusive language in planning and in everyday life. The panelists collaborated on two pieces for APA publications: 9 Tips for Promoting Gender-Inclusive Planning (Nov. 2020 Planning Magazine) and PAS QuickNote No. 88 on, “Gender-Inclusive Language.”

Learn more and register

Related to: Education, Planning, Equity
Post on: 04/28/2021

New Approaches to Parking Management

The GreenStep Cities program has just released a new 12-page guide - New Approaches to Parking Management -  to help municipalities in Minnesota improve the way they regulate and manage on- and off-street parking. The guide discusses the reasons cities are reexamining their approach to parking. It outlines the benefits of improving parking regulation and pricing – from reduced stormwater generation to increased housing affordability. The guide discusses the importance of surveying parking utilization and provides a checklist to evaluate a city’s parking code. It outlines a step-by-step process for making improvements, provides estimated costs for consulting help, and lists resources. Find additional guidance and resources related to this topic under BPA 14.1

A companion document, to be developed in 2021, will provide a summary of actions taken by cities in Minnesota and elsewhere to right-size and right-price parking. 

In the fall, the GreenStep Cities program will devote one of its monthly forums to parking regulation and management.

A big thank you to RETAP transportation consultant, Barb Thoman, for her work and expertise in developing this new guidance! 

Post on: 04/27/2021

Water Softening Grant - due 5/7

The MPCA is offering a new Chloride Reduction grant for the development of a project that provides direct assistance to upgrade and optimize water-softening systems in targeted communities with elevated chloride levels in surface waters or wastewater discharge.

Application deadline: May 7, 2021, by 4:00 p.m.

Funding: The grant award is $200,000 (requires a 25% minimum match). The grant will be awarded to a single applicant.

Eligible applicants:

  • Businesses under 500 employees
  • Governmental agencies
  • Educational institutions
  • Tribal Entities
  • Nongovernmental organizations (e.g., nonprofit or industry association)
  • Applicants must have relevant experience working on chloride’s impacts to water resources and basic knowledge of water softening systems
  • Applicants must have experience successfully implementing environmental projects or programs working with a variety of partners

Project goal: Award an organization that will lead a chloride reduction project within a selected community in need of chloride reduction. This organization will partner with community members and local experts to develop a strategy to identify high local chloride discharge sources and then assist those targeted local businesses and/or industries to upgrade or optimize existing water softening systems. Upon completion, the grant awardee will track the water softening changes made and then determine the estimated chloride reductions the project has achieved.

For grant application materials and more, visit the MPCA Chloride Reduction Grants webpage

Post on: 04/20/2021

Rural Regenerator Fellowship - Due 6/11

A Springboard for the Arts opportunity: Rural Regenerators see wild possibilities when communities are most stuck, and they use art, culture and creativity to help reframe challenges and opportunities, build relationships, repair historic harms, and dream big about a future that works better for everyone.

Fellowship At-A-Glance:

  • Application deadline is June 11, 2021
  • Applicants must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Applicants must live, work or have a strong connection to a rural community in Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois and the Native Nations that share those geographies
  • Successful applicants will have at least 2-3 years of demonstrated commitment to advancing the role of art, creativity, and culture in rural community development
  • Fellows will receive a flexible $10,000 stipend
  • Fellows will participate in two in-person retreats in the Fergus Falls, MN area, in October 2021 and April 2022
  • Fellows will receive travel support for a site exchange with another cohort member
  • Fellows will receive travel support to attend and present at the Rural Arts and Culture Summit in October 2022

Learn more and Apply

Post on: 04/20/2021

Street Sweeping Webinar - 5/13

The MPCA is hosting a live webinar on street sweeping, Thursday May 13, 9:30-11:00 AM. The webinar will feature distinguished speakers covering the following:

  • Opening statement - the importance and value of street sweeping: Randy Neprash, PE, Minnesota Cities Stormwater Coalition, Stantec
  • Discussion of nutrients in urban stormwater, focused on impacts of trees: Dr. Sarah Hobbie, Distinguished McKnight University Professor, Dept. of Ecology, Evolution & Behavior, University of Minnesota
  • Overview of recently developed street sweeping calculator: Aileen Molloy, Tetra Tech
  • Overview of draft guidance for street sweeping: Hillary Yonce, Tetra Tech
  • Discussion of additional research needs: William Selbig, Research Hydrologist, USGS Upper Midwest Water Science Center
  • Q&A

Information for joining the webinar, speaker information, and links to information on street sweeping can be found at

Post on: 04/07/2021

TC Comp Plan Implementation Partnerships - Apply by 6/15

Comprehensive Plan Implementation Partnerships

The Resilient Communities Project (RCP), in collaboration with the Metropolitan Council, is now accepting proposals from townships, cities, and counties located in the seven-county Twin Cities metropolitan area for partnerships during the University’s 2021–2022 academic year (September 2021 to August 2022).

This special call for proposals is intended for local government agencies seeking to collaborate with the University of Minnesota on projects that build community resilience, advance equity, and implement elements of a locally adopted 2040 comprehensive plan.

Successful applicants will benefit from research and technical assistance provided by graduate and professional students and faculty at the University of Minnesota, from a variety of departments and disciplines. The selection process is competitive, and successful applicants must support the effort through dedicated staff time and a modest local financial contribution.

Who Is Eligible: Local government agencies (township, city, and county) located in the seven-county Twin Cities metropolitan area. To be eligible, communities must be within the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Council. 

Program Cost: For projects proposed and accepted under this special call for proposals, the Metropolitan Council will provide matching funds to offset the cost of participation in the RCP program. The local financial contribution is $2,000 per project, with a $5,000 per-project match from the Metropolitan Council. 

Deadline for Proposals: June 15, 2021. Communities selected for participation will be notified by the end of June 2021. Proposals must be submitted by email as a single PDF file to

For More information or to Apply:

Post on: 04/06/2021

Salt Symposium 8/3-4

2021 Salt Symposium - two days of chloride research & innovation! 

August 3-4 (online only)

New Directions in Chloride - 8/3: water softening, fertilizers, and more 

Winter Maintenance - 8/4: the latest research and technology 

Learn more and nominate an Environmental Leader at 

Register at  (20%off early bird discount until June 30)

Post on: 03/18/2021

Webinar: Creating a Welcoming Community - 4/15, 4/29, 5/13

Join the UMN Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (RSDP) for a series of workshops that dive deep into action you can take to create a welcoming community in Greater Minnesota. Hear from community leaders, businesses, and arts and cultural organizations about how they are implementing practices that welcome and include all community members.

The workshops build on an RSDP project that involved working with partners in two communities to explore their welcoming efforts and develop the guide Creating a Welcoming Community: A Toolkit to Support Immigrants, Refugees, and BIPOC.

Register for one workshop or all three. Registration space is limited to accommodate small group breakout discussions. 

April 15 - 12:00-1:30pm - Creating a Welcoming Community: Beginning with leadership 

April 29 - 12:00-1:30pm - Creating a Welcoming Community: It’s good for business

May 13 - 12:00-1:30pm - Creating a Welcoming Community: Growing with arts and education

Post on: 03/15/2021