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GreenStep Cities » Opportunities

GreenStep Cities Opportunites

Maximize Your Impact

This page lists current opportunities for resources, funding, and technical assistance to help cities go deeper with GreenStep Cities’ best practices. This page will be updated as new offerings become available.

National Tribal Forum on Air Quality

Opportunity: The NTF provides environmental professionals from tribes, EPA, and other organizations an opportunity to meet and discuss current policies, regulatory initiatives, and technical topics in air quality. Visit the GreenStep Tribal Nations booth at the EcoCafe!

Timing & Registration: The conference will take place on May 14-17, 2018 at the Black Bear Casino Resort in Carlton, Minnesota. Click here for more information.

Citizen Science Webinar Series

Opportunity: Join a team of scientists via four webinars covering the basic research projects, how to get involved, and how to become a Citizen Scientist. Topics are related to phenology, EAB biosurveillance, forest health, bee diversity. Learn more about each week’s topic here.  Cost is $20 per webinar or $50 for the series, or attend live for free in room 19 Green Hall on the UMN St. Paul campus where you can meet the researchers. Timing & Registration: Webinars will occur each Thursday in April from noon to 1pm. Please register here. 

Bike + Walk MN Conference

Opportunity: The Bike+Walk Minnesota Conference is geared toward everyone interested in supporting and promoting biking and walking in Minnesota. It will be a multidisciplinary conversation about the intersection of active transportation, community development, inequities, and advocacy. Professionals and advocates from across Minnesota will come together and go beyond breakout sessions to explore connections between biking and walking, discuss how communities are creating better public spaces for all users, and address the open-ended question of what comes next for transportation and recreation options in the North Star State. There will be two full days of professional programming, breakout sessions, keynotes, and mobile workshops along with opportunities for networking and informal collaboration on Sunday afternoon, Sunday evening, and Monday evening. Click here to learn more about the conference, and here for information about available scholarships.  Timing & Registration: The conference will take place April 29 – May 1 in Rochester at the DoubleTree Hotel (150 S Broadway, Rochester, MN 55904). Click here to register. 

Conservation Partners Legacy Grant Program

Opportunity: The Conservation Partners Legacy (CPL) Grant Program funds conservation projects that restore, enhance, or protect forests, wetlands, prairies, and habitat for fish, game, and wildlife in Minnesota. Funding for the CPL grant program is from the Outdoor Heritage Fund, created by the people of Minnesota. $5,000 – $400,000 are available for projects that restore, enhance, or protect forests, wetlands, prairies, or habitat.

Timing: Applications will be accepted as late as May 2018. To learn more, click here.

Resources from EPA Office of Sustainable Communities

Local Foods, Local Places helps communities reinvest in existing neighborhoods and revitalize downtowns through the development of local food systems. To date, nearly 80 communities have benefited from assistance.

Healthy Places for Healthy People helps community leaders and health care partners focus on health as an economic driver and catalyst for downtown and neighborhood revitalization. Healthcare partners include community health centers (including Federally Qualified Health Centers), nonprofit hospitals, and other health care facilities. To date, 10 communities have benefited from assistance. The Healthy Places for Healthy People web page has short videos on our work in Corbin, KY, and Williamson, WV. Local Foods, Local Places Toolkit: Based on the best practices and lessons learned from Local Foods, Local Places workshops, EPA developed the Local Foods, Local Places Toolkit to help communities interested in using local foods to support downtown and neighborhood revitalization. The toolkit provides step-by-step instructions for planning and hosting a community workshop and includes case studies and templates communities can adapt to their needs. Harlan, Kentucky, participated in the Local Foods, Local Places technical assistance program in 2017; listen to this podcast to hear how Harlan is working to grow the local food economy and revitalize downtown.

Smart Growth Fixes for Climate Adaptation and Resilience: Changing Land Use and Building Codes and Policies to Prepare for Climate Change is a guide that describes specific changes communities could make to their land use and building policies to prepare for climate change while gaining other environmental, economic, health, and social benefits in the short and long terms.

Framework for Creating a Smart Growth Economic Development Strategy: A Tool for Small Cities and Towns is a step-by-step guide to building a place-based economic development strategy, intended for small and mid-sized cities, particularly those that have limited population growth, areas of disinvestment, and/or a struggling economy.

Warm Mix Asphalt – Technical Assistance

Opportunity: The US Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5 out of Chicago, is seeking to work with local governments, private companies and other organizations that contract asphalt paving to reduce emissions from asphalt production through the use of Warm Mix Asphalt (WMA). WMA is an alternative to traditional Hot-Mix Asphalt (HMA) with equivalent performance at mixing temperatures 50-100 degrees F lower. WMA uses the same production equipment as HMA, but achieves lower temperatures through the addition of chemical or organic additives or water. WMA works as a compaction tool for contractors seeking to achieve contract densities faster and more easily. Adoption of WMA technology can reduce energy use by 20-30% along with odors and air emissions like “blue smoke” that are harmful to workers and neighbors, especially children and other vulnerable populations.

A regional U.S. EPA engineer, Dawid Kierys, is offering to provide technical assistance on using/contracting for warm mix asphalt and in writing contract language to specify WMA for your road projects.

Interested? If you are interested in learning more, please contact Dawid Kierys at 312.353.7446 or kierys.dawid@epa.gov

Technical and Financial Assistance Available for Sustainable Spirits through the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP)

Opportunity: MnTAP’s current effort is to encourage more environmentally sustainable practices at microbreweries and micro distilleries by using a checklist approach to initially identify opportunities for energy, water, waste and wastewater effluent cost savings and then maintain best practices in the future. MnTAP will assist 8-10 eligible companies with benchmarking, onsite technical assistance and implementation recommendations, including up to $500 in equipment. Eligible companies would be brewers producing < 20,000 bbl/yr and distillers producing < 40,000 bbl/yr.

Opportunity includes:

  • No Cost assessment for 8-10 eligible microbrewery or micro distiller.
  • Learn to set up a checklist approach to sustainable practices
  • Up to $500 in free equipment to implement reduction ideas

How to Apply: Click here for more information and to apply.

$15 Million Available in Clean Water Partnership Loans

Opportunity: 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.

Apply now for a CWP loan: The MPCA is accepting applications for water resource projects to be funded through the CWP Loan Program. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis; funding will be approved based on available loan funds. Over $15 million in funds are available for fiscal years 2018 and 2019, and the maximum loan award for a project is $2 million.

Request for proposals: Application forms and full details of this loan opportunity are found in the request for proposals: who may apply, funding priorities, activities eligible for funding, and other information that will help you plan your project and submit a complete application.

Timing: Applications will be accepted on a continuous basis. Visit the MPCA website for more information.

Brownfields + Health Planning Tool

Opportunity: Revitalizing brownfield sites offers an opportunity for communities to spur economic growth, resolve neighborhood blight, increase community connectivity, restore ecological balance and promote public health. The benefits are tremendous, but often the task of transforming these sites into productive community assets can present challenges, including the complicated process of identifying and prioritizing the redevelopment strategies that will best meet the long-term needs of the environment and community. Minnesota Brownfields and the Minnesota Department of Health have developed a Brownfield and Health Indicator Tool to help community planners, landscape architects, developers and community leaders overcome this challenge.

The Brownfield and Health Indicator Tool incorporates a series of indicators that address community health factors and aims to streamline project decision-making process by providing a framework for stakeholders to identify and prioritize re-development goals. Designed as a self-guided tool by those who influence and work on brownfield projects, the Brownfield Health Indicator Tool’s framework supports existing project decision-making processes. To access the Brownfield Health Indicator Tool, visit Brownfield Health Indicator Tool or Brownfields and Public Health. To learn more about the tool’s launch and current pilot project by the City of Duluth, click here.

Contact: Natalie Brown, Program Manager at Minnesota Brownfields nbrown@mnbrownfields.org

Citizens Utility Board Presentation by Request

Opportunity: CUB of Minnesota Outreach Director Carmen Carruthers is scheduling presentations and utility bill clinics for this spring and summer. Our staff can help attendees understand their utility bills, highlight ways to reduce energy costs, explain options to get renewable power, and make people aware of programs and rebates for which they might be eligible. Presentations can be customized to the local utilities and the specific interests of each group.

Timing: Ongoing

Contact: Find out more, and contact Carmen if you’re interested in requesting a speaker: 612-568-5706 or carmenc@cubminnesota.org