2019 GLISA Small Grant: Advancing Climate Resilience in the Western Lake Superior Region

Funded by 2019 GLISA Small Grants Competition

 

Summary

Duluth, Minnesota is a city on the coast of Lake Superior with nearly 90,000 residents and 43 streams flowing through the city. Significant flooding and damage from extreme precipitation events and high Lake Superior winds and waves have impacted the city’s infrastructure in recent years. This project aims to provide targeted technical assistance and facilitation to support Duluth climate action planning, and advance climate resilience for western Lake Superior region municipalities. 

Project outcomes include:

  1. Identified categories for climate action, potential sectors and institutions needed for partnering, existing and future financial resources and narratives to inspire uptake of climate action across various sectors,
  2. Increased understanding of community impacts and equity issues around climate change and adaptation solutions,
  3. Insights on process, outputs and outcomes to inform and inspire western Lake Superior regional municipalities to take further action,  
  4. Elements of a draft Duluth climate action plan including project highlights and recommendations from presentations and prioritization, 
  5. Increased connections among municipal leadership, staff, and technical assistance providers for further adaptation and resilience work; and 
  6. Key lessons and suggestions for regional municipal leaders, sharing Duluth’s experience.

Project Accomplishments (Anticipated)

  • Exploration of City of Duluth capital budget and drivers for climate action and potential funding and finance sources (including an adaptation/resilience finance guide). 
  • Technical assistance to support development and finalization of City of Duluth Climate Action Plan.
  • Review and analysis of existing regional climate change-related technical assistance and municipal climate action work.
  • Regional climate change information offered and delivered in accessible format to municipal leaders and staff.
  • Assessment and summary of regional climate action assets. Recommendations for next steps for regional collaborative climate resilience planning.

Research Findings (Anticipated)

Sharing of climate projections including through narratives and story, identification of existing local government and community climate-action assets, assessment of population vulnerabilities and facilitated exercises will: 1) identify categories for climate action, potential sectors and institutions needed for partnering, existing and future financial resources and narratives to inspire uptake of climate action across various sectors, 2) build understanding of community impacts and equity issues around climate change and adaptation solutions, and 3) offer insights on process, outputs and outcomes to inform and inspire surrounding communities to take further action. Results are intended to be summarized in a way that can be built into future planning.

GLISA’s Contribution

GLISA funded this 2019 small grant project and is partnering with the grantee to present climate projections and impacts for Lake Superior and the surrounding region with project stakeholders.

Partners

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, City of Duluth, University of Minnesota, Duluth – Natural Resources Research Institute, Minnesota Sea Grant, Wisconsin Sea Grant, Minnesota Department of Public Safety – Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and Lake Superior National Estuarine and Research Reserve – Coastal Training Program.

GLISA Contact

Kim Channell, Climatologist, kimchann@umich.edu