News

Climate Action Simulation Facilitation Training - 7/27, 29

FREE CLIMATE ACTION SIMULATION FACILITATION TRAINING IN JULY 2021 

The University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment (IonE) is offering free Climate Action Simulation training Tues July 27 & Thurs July 29 9-10:30am (one 2 part training). 

SEEKING EDUCATORS & YOUTH STAFF

Help spread the word about this training to those in your network. Share information in your newsletters or social media posts. We seek Minnesota & nearby state:

  • educators (from K-12 schools or higher education)
  • non-profit organization staff working with youth 
  • youth environmental club mentors
  • volunteers working with youth in school or after-school and 
  • youth leaders themselves (high school level)

SIGN UP FOR FACILITATION TRAINING HERE

ABOUT THE CLIMATE ACTION SIMULATION: 

The Climate Action Simulation is a highly interactive, role-playing game. It uses the En-ROADS (or Energy Rapid Overview and Decision-Support) simulation model to engage a wide range of participants in exploring key technology and policy solutions for addressing global warming. The simulation feels like a game for participants, but is a reasonably accurate simulation of a special climate summit organized by the United Nations to convene global stakeholders to establish a concrete plan to address the energy transition and climate change. The simulation aims to limit global warming to the Paris Agreement goals of holding global temperatures under an increase of 2 degrees celsius by 2100. The simulation is a fun format for groups to explore climate change solutions and see what it would really take to address this global challenge.

Research shows that taking part in a Climate Action Simulation improves participants’ knowledge on the actions needed to address climate change, boosts both personal and emotional engagement with climate issues, and leaves participants feeling empowered to address climate change.

The Climate Action Simulation Game Video - less than 2 minutes!

THE TRAINING TEAM: 

The team that will train future facilitators of Climate Action Simulations features two experienced facilitators - Beth Mercer-Taylor and Aaron Hanson, both educators and staff with the Institute on the Environment (IonE) at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. In organizing training, the IonE team works closely with the team that created the educational version of the simulation, UMass Lowell's Climate Change Initiative,

Watch for another communication from our student employee & graphic designer at the Institute on the Environment (IonE), Jacqueline Nguyen, who will be creating postcards and social media posts you can share.

Questions? Get in touch with Beth Mercer-Taylor at bethmt@umn.edu or Jacqueline Nguyen nguy3400@umn.edu

Post on: 06/30/2021

Webinars: The Intersection of Energy and Community - 7/ 8, 15, 22, 29

Fresh Energy's free summer webinar series: The Intersection of Energy and Community 

Thursday at Noon | July 8, 15, 22, 29 

The transition to an equitable, carbon-neutral economy will bring big changes to our communities. State and federal policies, utility programs, and the overall evolution from a world powered by oil and gas to a clean electricity-powered future, play out in our neighborhoods, workplaces, and homes. But it’s not just communities adapting to change. Cities, counties, and local institutions are often leading through model projects and Climate Action Plans to shape a new reality.

July 8 - Community Heating and Cooling: How can district-scale heat and power projects achieve big carbon reductions and new union jobs? 

July 15 - Workforce of the Future: How can Minnesota ensure broad access to jobs in the clean energy economy?

July 22 - Authentic Community Engagement: What is the difference between public input and a co-created climate vision?

July 29 - Electricity Instead of Gas: How can communities embrace efficiency and electrification and avoid new fossil gas infrastructure?

Learn More and Register. 

Post on: 06/22/2021

Host "We Are Water" - due 7/26

Applications to be a part of a 2022 cohort of host sites are being accepted now through July 26. We Are Water MN is a traveling exhibit and community engagement initiative that builds local capacity to support and engage in water restoration and protection.

Local organizations host the exhibit and become an exhibit tour-cohort during their 15-month commitment to the program. The state agencies and local organizations practice the Minnesota Humanities Center’s absent narratives approach — an equity-based approach to partnership building and community engagement. State partners provide training and reflective experiences for host sites, develop local content for the exhibit, and connect host sites with resources. Host communities build partnerships and plan public activities. Soil and water conservation districts, museums, arts organizations, and tribal governments have all been hosts in the past.

Learn more and apply on the Host We Are Water MN webpage

Post on: 06/21/2021

Webinars: 6/22-7/27: WWTP Nutrient Discharge Reductions

A new webinar training series, Reducing Nutrient Discharges Through Low-Cost Operational Changes, will teach you how to improve your activated sludge system’s biological nutrient removal (BNR) performance without costly capital upgrades. Minnesota wastewater operators can earn 1.75 contact hours per session, approved by MPCA, by attending the six free webinar sessions. Up to 10.5 contact hours can be earned by attending all six sessions. Attendees are encouraged to attend all sessions.

The training sessions will be led by one of the nation’s premier subject experts – Grant Weaver of CleanWaterOps  – who has helped facilities across the country reduce their nitrogen and phosphorus discharges using their existing facilities and equipment.

Each session will be held from 10:00 – 11:45 AM Central on the following dates:

  • Session 1 - Tuesday June 22: Optimizing Nitrogen Removal in Activated Sludge WWTPs – Introduction/Overview
  • Session 2 - Tuesday June 29: Optimizing Phosphorus Removal in Activated Sludge WWTPs – Introduction/Overview
  • Session 3 - Wednesday July 7: Optimizing Nitrogen and Phosphorus Removal in Activated Sludge WWTPs – Review
  • Session 4 - Tuesday July 13: Optimizing Nitrogen and Phosphorus Removal in Activated Sludge WWTPs – Case Studies, Part 1
  • Session 5 - Tuesday July 20: Optimizing Nitrogen and Phosphorus Removal in Activated Sludge WWTPs – Case Studies, Part 2
  • Session 6 Tuesday July 27: Optimizing Nitrogen and Phosphorus Removal in Red River – Participants’ Wastewater Treatment Plants.

Click the link below to register today!

Register

This training webinar series is brought to you by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. EPA Region 5, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), and CleanWaterOps, as part of the National Study on Nutrient Removal and Secondary Technologies.

Related to: Water, Training, Education
Post on: 06/11/2021

Resilient Communities Partnership - Apply by 8/15

RCP Standard Partnership: 

RCP is accepting proposals from local government agencies located anywhere in Minnesota for assistance with projects that advance community resilience to economic, social, environmental, or technological changes. RCP specifically encourages proposals for projects focused on racial inequities, unjust systems, and/or the COVID-19 pandemic, and that center communities most impacted by these issues. 

Deadline for proposals is August 15, 2021.  Learn More and Apply

 

Comprehensive Plan Implementation Partnership (7-county metro area cities): 

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 Comprehensive Plan Implementation Partnerships during the 2022 calendar year. This special call for proposals is for local government agencies in the Twin Cities metropolitan area seeking to collaborate with the U of MN on projects that build community resilience, advance equity, and implement elements of a locally adopted 2040 comprehensive plan. 

A project or an interest in one of the areas specified in the call for proposals would be welcome (not limited to these): 

  • Urban tree canopy
  • Sustainable land use
  • Integrated water resources planning 
  • Multi-modal transportation planning 
  • Energy planning
  • Capital improvement planning 
  • Partnerships
  • Climate vulnerability
  • Systems change

Deadline for proposals is August 15, 2021.  Learn More and Apply

 

Post on: 05/24/2021

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

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 

Registrants also have access to free Smart Salting Training 8/5 and 8/6 for: Road Certification, Parking Lots & Sidewalks, and Property Management

Learn more and nominate an Environmental Leader at https://fortinconsulting.com/2021-symposium/ 

Register at https://fortinconsulting.regfox.com/salt-symposium-2021  (20%off early bird discount until June 30)

Post on: 03/18/2021

Bikeable Community Workshops -2021

At a Remote Bikeable Community Workshop, local and regional staff, community leaders, and local bike champions are trained on strategies that they can use to create a bike friendly community. Through virtual presentations, breakout discussions, and an independent bike audit, participants will assess their community’s bicycle friendly efforts and facilities while working together to create a personalized community action plan.

BikeMN, in partnership with the Minnesota Departments of Health and Transportation, will be offering a number of Remote Bikeable Community Workshops in 2021. If you feel that your community is a great candidate for a workshop, please fill out this online application.

Learn more and apply. See Best Practice Action 12.1 about becoming a Bicycle Friendly Community.  

Post on: 01/08/2021

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, dunn@state.mn.us
  • www.pca.state.mn.us/ppl

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, sabie@state.mn.us
  • mn.gov/deed/pfa

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