GreenStep Cities Quarterly Newsletter

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NEW: Addressing the Sustainability Gap in the Development Process

NEW guidance available from RETAP consultant, Michael Orange and GreenStep Cities! 

Empower your environmental/sustainability committees to be more effective at making your city more sustainable, resilient, and equitable by advocating for an environmental focus throughout the city’s development review process by using the Addressing the Sustainability Gap in the Development Review Process. Also find it as an implementation tool under BPA 24.1.

The guide has 8 main sections:

  • climate change future - a call to action
  • the third “E” in Sustainability - equity, and climate refugees
  • environmental advocacy and the development review process
  • Minnesota programs for local governments
  • municipal development code
  • case study: site plan for a laundry mat
  • case study: environmental review of a shopping center expansion project 
  • resources 

Learn more at the upcoming GreenStep Cities Workshop on October 20 (9:00-11:00am): How City Commissions can Advance Sustainability  

Related to: Announcement, Planning
Post on: 09/16/2021

Workshops: Building Performance Standards and Equitable Policies 9/16, 10/21, 11/18

Building Performance Standards: A New Framework for Equitable Policies to Address Existing Buildings

A new framework is available for local governments, community and industry stakeholders interested in Building Performance Standards (BPS) to improve existing buildings. The policy tool can help cities reach climate goals while integrating equity and economic inclusion.

At its most basic, a BPS policy establishes targets for buildings to reduce energy use or greenhouse gas emissions, or to improve other metrics, over time. In addition, successful BPS policies include complementary support programs and assistance for covered buildings, local workforce, and historically underserved populations.

Webinar 1: Building Performance Standards for Local Governments
Thursday, September 16th, 2021 from 1:00 - 2:00 PM Eastern

Webinar 2: Building Performance Standards for Community
Thursday, October 21st, 2021 from 1:00 - 2:00 PM Eastern

Webinar 3: Building Performance Standards for Industry Professionals
Thursday, November 18th, 2021 from 1:00 - 2:00 PM Eastern 


Post on: 09/14/2021

BWSR Academy - 10/26-28

MN Board of Water and Soil Resources Conference

October 26-28 

Craguns's - Brainerd, MN 

Learn more and Register

Related to: Training, Education, Water
Post on: 07/15/2021

Heart and Soul Seed Grant

Community Heart & Soul is a resident-driven process that engages the entire population of a town in identifying what they love most about their community, what future they want for it, and how to achieve it. Developed and field-tested over a decade in partnership with over 90 small cities and towns across America, Community Heart & Soul is a proven process for engaging a community in shaping its future.

Apply for a $10,000 seed grant to get the process started. Requires matching $10,000. No deadline to apply. 

Learn more and apply

Post on: 07/06/2021

Water Infrastructure Funding 2021

The two state revolving fund (SRF) programs are administered by the Minnesota Public Facilities Authority (PFA), together with the MPCA and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). The PFA provides low interest loans or grants to local governments for eligible projects based on priorities determined by the MPCA (for wastewater and stormwater projects) and the MDH (for drinking water projects).

Deadlines are listed below for the PPLs and IUPs:

 Project Priority List – Clean Water Revolving Fund 

  • Wastewater and stormwater projects
  • Deadline: On or before March 5, 2021 to MPCA
    • PPL application and scoring worksheet (Including supporting documentation, as required)
    • Wastewater facilities plans
  • Stormwater project plans, contact: Bill Dunn, MPCA 651-757-2324,

Project Priority List – Drinking Water Revolving Fund

Intended Use Plans – Both Clean Water and Drinking Water Funds

  • Specify which program on submission
  • Deadline: June 4, 2021 to Public Facilities Authority, contact: Becky Sabie, PFA 651-259-7470,

System owners must request that their projects be placed on the appropriate 2022 IUP if they expect to be ready for construction and are seeking SRF financing in state fiscal year 2022 (July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022). 

Post on: 01/04/2021

Race Equity Resources During the COVID-19 Pandemic

As cities grapple with the impact of COVID-19 on their local communities, cities may wonder how to address race equity. The state and other cities have created helpful resources that may benefit your community.

The League will continue to compile race equity resources, so check here for updates.

Get answers to frequently asked questions regarding COVID-19 and race equity

  • Are there racial disparities related to COVID-19?
  • Are there racial disparities in Minnesota related to COVID-19?
  • How can cities include race equity in their response to COVID-19?
  • If city residents are looking for multilingual COVID-19 resources, where can the city find them?
  • We hear there may be acts of racial bias or discrimination happening related to COVID-19, but they are not getting reported to our police department. What can the city do to address this issue?
  • What kind of statement could a city make related to race equity and COVID-19?
  • What are Minnesota cities doing to address race equity during this health pandemic?
  • What other local government efforts should cities be aware of related to equity and COVID-19?
Post on: 05/04/2020

Upstream Nutrient Reduction

Upstream Nutrient Reduction: MnTAP has launched a project geared towards working with facilities upstream of wastewater treatment plants to help them better-manage wastewater effluent.

Through this project, at no-cost, MnTAP staff and interns can help identify strategies for upstream nutrient reduction, which can:

  • Decrease load to local wastewater treatment ponds and plants
  • Reduce the burden on our local bodies of water and wildlife
  • Minimize pressure and costs for businesses that discharge wastewater


The Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) is an outreach program at the University of Minnesota that helps Minnesota organizations develop and implement industry-tailored solutions that prevent pollution at the source, maximize efficient use of resources, and reduce energy use and costs to improve public health and the environment.

Post on: 11/18/2019

Current Grant Opportunities - League of Minnesota Cities Database

See current grant opportunities as part of the LMC Resource Library -

Post on: 06/26/2019

Clean Water Partnership Loans

The Clean Water Partnership (CWP) program offers zero-interest loans to local units of government for implementing nonpoint-source best management practices and other activities that target the restoration and protection of a water resource such as a lake, stream, or groundwater aquifer.

Eligible projects include:

  • Urban green infrastructure such as rain water reuse, green roofs, porous pavement, or any stormwater best management practice (BMP)
  • Buffers: purchase of native seeds and vegetation
  • Septic system upgrades and replacements
  • Technical assistance, outreach, and education
  • Equipment such as conservation tillage equipment
  • Any nonpoint source BMP
  • Feedlot upgrades and replacement  

Funding: Up to $2 million, 0% interest
Timing: Accepted on a rolling basis


Post on: 06/26/2019