MPCA grants $78K for climate change impacts

(ABC 6 News) – The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has announced that the Cedar River Watershed District will receive a $78,000 grant to prepare for extreme weather caused by climate change.

According to the MPCA, impacts of climate change such as more frequent damaging storms and warm winter temperatures propose destructive challenges to local communities.

With the new funding, the watershed district intends to assess and develop water infrastructure projects to improve stormwater systems and prepare for heavy rain events.

These projects will focus on reducing risk to locations in the city of Austin.

"Climate change is most felt at the individual and local level. If we can’t drive to school and work and our job because the streets are flooded or pipes are backing up, it impacts all of our bottom line and our way of life and health and the environment. And so, making sure that we are putting dollars into the local level so that they can understand what can make the biggest difference in their community, and so that we don’t have impacts on hospitals, roads, and infrastructure that everyone depends on every day," MPCA Commissioner, Katrina Kessler said.

Austin has seen multiple floods throughout its history– such as the record-setting flood in 2004.

A supervisor from the Mower County Soil and Water Conservation District shared that the new funding for mitigation projects can help reduces the dangers of future floods to help prevent history from repeating itself.

"This grant will go a long way towards planning, and getting processes in place to help protect our waterways from natural disasters that we’ve seen an increase in. That’s what I’m hoping for the city of Austin, that benefit of prior planning so that when it does happen, we’re ready for it." said Mayor Steve King.

The MPCA also announced the city of Rochester will receive $107,000 of grant money to build resources and shelters for residents who face immediate threats of major weather events caused by climate change such as flooding– extreme heat– and extreme cold.