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

Funded by 2019 GLISA Small Grants Competition



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 provided technical assistance and workshop support to aid Duluth’s climate action planning and advance climate resilience for western Lake Superior region municipalities. It culminated in a Forum with presentations on regional climate, community case studies on climate mitigation and adaptation, tools to expedite climate action, and breakout sessions for participants to engage on climate action and adaptation. GLISA worked closely with the grantee to plan, facilitate, and administer the Forum.

Project Accomplishments and Outcomes

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 partnered with the grantee to administer the Resilience Forum and present climate projections and impacts for the Great Lakes region during the Forum.


Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, City of Duluth, Minnesota Sea Grant, Wisconsin Sea Grant, Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Lake Superior National Estuarine and Research Reserve, Great Plains Institute, Arrowhead Regional Development Commission, and the Northwest Regional Planning Commission.

GLISA Contact

Kim Channell, Climatologist, kimchann@umich.edu



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“The Climate Resilience Forum helped staff in the Lake Superior watershed share stories and common challenges for climate planning and action. With 115 other local government and regional planning staff registered, this was an important first conversation at a regional scale in our area….Many resources that weren’t on our radar were highlighted for us, including basic climate summary information and the Headwaters Economics tool [Neighborhoods at Risk]. Conversation about networking and partnerships continue, even months after the Forum….Without funding [from GLISA] to engage regional planning staff and bring in the expertise to run the workshop, we would never have been able to accomplish this on our own.”

Mindy Granley, City of Duluth, Sustainability Officer

“The Forum helped to further develop relationships and connections with other County and City staff. Since [the Forum], we have developed joint presentations that included climate mitigation and adaptation as topics. In April 2022, I presented at Leadership Duluth about our regional agreement that climate and sustainability are priorities with future leaders in our area.”

Mindy Granley, City of Duluth, Sustainability Officer

“The network of colleagues I was able to make during the Climate Resilience Forum has been very valuable in moving climate related work forward. Having few connections prior, being a part of the planning of the event helped me build meaningful relationships with professionals that will benefit future projects through technical assistance.”

Senior Planner, Arrowhead Regional Development Commission