News

GreenStep Municipal Stormwater Management Assessment LIVE

This assessment is built upon and replaces Friends of the Mississippi River's Blue Star Award Program. City coordinators received a Snap Survey link Feb. 3.

Your answers to 45 questions assess the degree to which your city is taking both simple and innovative actions to improve stormwater management, improve water quality, and adapt to climate changes in Minnesota. Questions in this Snap Survey cover broad green infrastructure areas that are generally not covered by government regulatory programs. After completing the assessment,, a score between 1 and 100 percent will be immediately reported to you online. A second score, based on your answers to 23 questions related to resilience to climate change, will also be reported.

Taking this assessment and receiving a score can be used in several ways:
(1) To quickly learn about a wide range of stormwater management options, via the questions and associated informational links to the MPCA’s Stormwater Manual site
(2) To see Minnesota cities' collective stormwater management efforts (data visualization of all anonymous answers will be available in late summer 2020)
(3) To gather a baseline measure of actions, and to compare that to a subsequent year (which could be 2 or 3 years later) when you retake the assessment
(4) To report your score, and subsequent improvement, to community members and to your city council
(5) To claim credit for the GreenStep best practice # 17, under BP action 17.2
(6) To claim credit for GreenStep Metric # 9, which is required for recognition at Step 4 and Step 5 in the GreenStep Cities program. Metric # 9 has two data elements, which are calculated for you after you complete this Assessment: the Stormwater Assessment Score based on all 45 questions, and the Climate Adaptation Stormwater Score, based on 23 questions.
 

Related to: Education, Resources, Water
Post on: 02/03/2020

Aquatic Invasive Species Grant

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Invasive Species Program offers Aquatic Invasive Species Control Grants. These grants are intended to help fund the control of curly-leaf pondweed (CLP), Eurasian watermilfoil (EWM) or flowering rush (FR). This offer is an opportunity for local entities such as lake associations, watershed districts, cities, and counties to receive state funding from the DNR for the control of these invasive aquatic plant species.

https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/grants/aquatic_invasive/control-projects.html?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term= 

Post on: 01/30/2020

Growing Sustainable Communities Conference

You could be a presenter at the 13th Annual Growing Sustainable Communities Conference in October 2020!

Hosted by the City of Dubuque, Iowa, the Growing Sustainable Communities Conference is the largest and longest- standing sustainability conference in the Midwest and will be held again at the Grand River Center located in the Port of Dubuque at 500 Bell Street. The 13th annual conference will be two days of education, inspiration and collaboration on topics of interest to anyone who cares about creating great towns and cities that stand the test of time. Last year, 482 people attended, to learn and share how to grow our sustainable communities.

To submit a presentation proposal click here.

Post on: 01/30/2020

MN GreenStep Schools launches!

January 16, 2020 marks the pilot launch - at the annual conference of the Minnesota School Boards Association - by the University of MN and allied organizations of this new program based upon the GreenStep Cities program and the national Green Ribbon Schools program.

Picture this: One Step at a Time…, Teams of Schools, Districts, Students, Parents, and a supporting community of volunteers, non-profits, businesses, and local and state government agencies all work together to help schools and their community take actions and build capacity to meet the challenges and opportunities of the future: preparing children for a changing economy, protecting our environment and community health, and harvesting the benefits of a clean energy future—all with guidance, assistance, and recognition from MN GreenStep Schools.  

MN GreenStep Schools is aiming for 50 x 50: 50 schools/districts, and 50 resource organizations (including cities), sign-up on the GreenStep Schools website by the 50th anniversary of Earth Day - April 22, 2020.

Cities and other organizations that can serve as a resource for schools can sign up at https://sites.google.com/umn.edu/mngreenstepschools/participate/resourceorganizations

Schools and school districts can join the pilot launch at the bottom of https://sites.google.com/umn.edu/mngreenstepschools/participate/districts-schools 

Related to: Announcement, Education
Post on: 01/16/2020

Nature-Based and Green Infrastructure Solutions Grants

APA is currently seeking project inquiries through an initial short-form application from communities interested in exploring nature-based and green infrastructure solutions through pre- and post-disaster recovery planning. APA will follow up with select applicants for additional information before making final determinations on awards. Three grantees will be selected to receive specialized technical assistance from a Recovery Planning Assistance Team (RPAT), a subsect of APA's Community Planning Assistance Teams (CPAT) program, that brings experienced volunteer planners to disaster-affected communities. All logistical expenses are funded.

Deliverable: Time and expertise included. Two site visits included. Full report with analysis, design, recommendations, and implementation strategies. 
Deadline: RFP open until projects are selected. Projects must occur in 2020. 
Linkhttps://www.planning.org/consultants/rfp/9192471/ 

Post on: 01/13/2020

TA to Cut Nitrogen/Phosphorous Loading in Wastewater

Curb wastewater nutrient challenges: Upstream nutrient source reduction assistance

Is your community facing challenges with Nitrogen or Phosphorous loading in wastewater? Is your business facing pressure from the treatment facility to get a handle on wastewater releases? The Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) has demonstrated that source reduction assistance can improve a wastewater facility’s ability to meet effluent targets while enhancing business operations through expanded capacity, improved quality and reduced cost. In January 2020 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, 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

If your community, wastewater treatment plant and/or business could benefit from no-cost assistance with wastewater nutrient management, contact Matt Domski – mdomski@umn.edu 612-624-5119 or Daniel Chang – dwchang@umn.edu 612-624-0808. 

Post on: 01/02/2020

The State of Transportation and Health Equity:

The State of Transportation and Health Equity (Smart Growth America: 2019) identifies the biggest challenges to health equity facing our transportation system and the best tools to address the problem. Recommendations are that stakeholders:

1. Reframe the transportation conversation. 

2. Allocate funding and resources equitably. 

3. Improve the quality and diversity of transportation leadership. 

4. Prioritize historically underrepresented communities in transportation decision-making. 

5. Work in unison to provide people-focused infrastructure. 

Related to: Resources, Education
Post on: 12/19/2019

MnTAP Interns

Your city or businesses in your city may be able to address waste reduction and energy efficiency projects sooner and faster with the help of a MnTAP intern. An intern can make suggestions that improve efficiency, save money, reduce waste, or decrease regulatory compliance burden.

Check out how the Cities of Hutchinson and Plymouth really made amazing improvements with the program in the 2019 Solutions publication summarizing the 2019 MnTAP Intern projects. This provides additional examples of project on industrial water efficiency, upstream nutrient reduction and wastewater treatment effluent nutrient optimization. The deadline for interns is come up in January. 

Working on this activity can qualify under the Green Step City - Green Business Development category: "Create or participate in a marketing/outreach program to connect businesses with assistance providers, including utilities, who provide personalized energy, waste or sustainability audits and assistance."

 

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

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

Green Team Work Plan

Sustainability Commission. Energy and Environmental Committee. Conservation Commission. GreenStep Core Group. Whatever you call them, effective Green Teams are often at the center of GreenStep successes. 

And now there is a guide to help Green Teams do their work even better! The GreenStep Green Team Work Plan provides guidance on developing and maintaining effective Green Teams. The Work Plan answers questions like “What does a Green Team do?” and “Who should be on a Green Team?” and provides tips on essential aspects of Green Team longevity and usefulness, like structure, leadership, and succession.

In addition, the Work Plan takes a deeper dive into two best practice areas required for Step 3 recognition: Benchmarking Public Buildings (BP 1.1) and Comprehensive and Related Plans (BP 6). The Work Plan suggests resources and provides step-by-step guidance on how Green Teams might move forward on these best practices. 

Check out the 2020 Green Team Work Plan here!

Related to: Announcement, Resources
Post on: 11/12/2019