GreenStep Opportunities

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.                            

MN Association of Floodplain Managers Conference

The 2018 MNAFPM conference will be held in the City of Mankato. Conference attendees typically consist of federal, state and local government officials, planners, engineers, consultants, researchers, educators, watershed organizations, realtors, appraisers, and insurance agents.

There will be an opportunity for participants to take the Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM) exam, go on a field tour, and attend training sessions and presentations. Those interested in taking the CFM exam can register on the ASFPM website. The conference will also include vendor exhibits and networking opportunities.

Timing: November 13-16


Resilient Communities Project

The University of Minnesota’s Resilient Communities Project (RCP) is now accepting proposals from cities, counties, tribal governments, special districts, and regional government agencies or partnerships in Minnesota to be an RCP partner for the 2019–2020 academic year. Successful applicants will benefit from approximately 20,000 to 50,000 hours (15-18 months) of work by University of Minnesota students and faculty, from a variety of disciplines, to provide research and technical assistance with projects that advance community resiliency. The partner must support the effort through dedicated staff time and a local financial contribution. The selection process is competitive.

Timing: Applications due February 15, 2018



Host a Bikeable Community Workshop

Is your community ready to take the next step on its bike friendly journey? At a Bikeable Community Workshop, local and regional staff, community leaders, and local bike champions are trained on strategies that they can use to create a more bike friendly community. Through discussions, presentations, and an on-bike mobile workshop, participants will assess and evaluate their community's current bicycle friendly efforts and facilities, and work together to create a personalized community action plan. At a typical workshop, participants should include public health practitioners, engineers, law enforcement, planners, school administrators, elected officials, community leaders, and local advocates. Please read through the entire application and the Bikeable Community Workshop Planning Guide before submitting an application.

Timing: Applications due November 30th by 5:00 pm. Workshops hosted by BikeMN and MN Depts. of Health and Transportation between May and June 2019.



Resilient Communities Program - Call for Proposals

The University of Minnesota’s Resilient Communities Project (RCP) is now accepting proposals from cities, counties, tribal governments, special districts, and regional government agencies or partnerships in Minnesota to be an RCP partner for the 2019–2020 academic year. Successful applicants will benefit from 10-25 projects over a 15-18 month period of work by University of Minnesota students and faculty, from a variety of disciplines, to provide research and technical assistance with projects that advance community resiliency. The partner must support the effort through dedicated staff time and a local financial contribution. The selection process is competitive.

Timeline: Application Deadline - February 15, 2019



Greater Minnesota Transportation Alternatives Grants

A competitive grant opportunity for local communities and regional agencies to fund projects for pedestrian and bicycle facilities, historic preservation, Safe Routes to School and more. Minnesota will be soliciting projects for approximately $6.5 million in available grant funding across the state.

Funding: $6.5 million across MN

Timing: October 31 - Deadline to submit letter of intent



Minnesota Climate Adaptation Awards and Conference

The Minnesota Climate Adaptation Awards, presented by the Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership (MCAP), recognize and celebrate exceptional achievements in leadership, education, research, policies, and practices that improve resilience and develop, advance, or implement climate adaptation strategies.

The conference agenda will be divided into three breakout sessions. The conference is located at the University of Minnesota, Continuing Education and Conference Center.

Timing:  November 14, 2018



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



2018/19 GreenStep Workshops

New workshops are planned for GreenStep and other MN communities, to be held at the League of Minnesota Cities office in St. Paul and live webcast. Topics are being finalized and will be posted on the GreenStep web page soon. Anyone is welcome to attend!



Menu of Climate Adaptation Strategies

Resource: The menu includes many "no regrets" strategies that can improve daily quality of life for the community, while helping reduce risk for those groups most vulnerable to climate impacts – the very old or very young, people with health issues, disabilities, economic vulnerability, outdoor occupations, exposure to environmental pollution, or cultural/language barriers, people of color.


Contact for more information: Laura Millberg, MPCA


EcoDistricts Summit in Minneapolis

Opportunity: The EcoDistricts Summit is heading to Minneapolis-St. Paul — cities with a rich history of innovation in sustainable urban regeneration. This is demonstrated in the region’s robust transit system, waterways, park system, neighborhood solar installations, revitalized former industrial districts and brownfield redevelopments. Yet at the same time, Minneapolis and St. Paul are home to some of the greatest racial disparities in the country. Today, these very different yet dynamic cities are on the cusp of a breakthrough in urban regeneration, fueled by a generation of leaders that are harnessing the city’s civic entrepreneurism, thriving arts and culture community, and dedication to community-based placemaking.

Timing: October 17-18, Minneapolis. Don’t delay! Early bird tickets are on sale now. Need financial help to attend? Visit


St. Cloud Wins 2018 Sustainable City Award

Announcement: Learn about St. Cloud’s renewable energy & efficiency initiative.


Diesel Replacement Program Grant Opportunities

Funding: Minnesota will invest the first phase of Volkswagen settlement funds through five grant rounds, as outlined in the state’s plan. The MPCA will open requests for proposals for these programs throughout 2018 and 2019. Grant opportunities will include: EV fast-charging station grants, school bus replacement grants, EV Level 2 Charging Stations, Clean heavy-duty off-road equipment, Clean heavy-duty on-road vehicles grant program, & Heavy-duty electric vehicle grant program. Check here for more information.


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

Technical Assistance: 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


Brownfields + Health Planning Tool

Resource: 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


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