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Capturing the Value of Stormwater

 David Yount of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Duluth walks on the green roof, installed in 2007, of their church at 835 West College Street in Duluth, Minnesota.
May 22, 2017

Minnesota Sea Grant hosts green infrastructure workshop for community leaders.

After an April of above-normal precipitation and predictions of more frequent extreme rain events, staff and leaders from the cities of Duluth, Cloquet, Hermantown, Proctor and Superior likely have an especially keen interest in attending a workshop in Duluth this week on green infrastructure.

Green infrastructure technologies apply infiltration, evapotranspiration and capture-and-reuse techniques to stormwater and precipitation that helps maintain or restore natural hydrology while at the same time protecting and cleaning community water resources. Managing stormwater water more efficiently by using native vegetation can protect the community’s natural resources and built infrastructure, and improve property values and aesthetics.

“The workshop will provide an opportunity for community planners, engineers and leaders to discuss the role green infrastructure can play in community resilience, creating community green space and preserving and improving clean water resources,” said John Bilotta, workshop co-coordinator and Minnesota Sea Grant and University of Minnesota Extension educator.

Strategic planting of trees can provide rainwater storage and make more inviting places for people to be out and about in their communities.

They also create shade that minimizes urban heat islands that in turn reduces the need for air conditioning in nearby businesses and homes.

The all-day workshop is Wednesday, May 24, in Duluth. Registration for the workshop, Tackling Barriers to Green Infrastructure, is required.

“Importantly, this workshop will demonstrate tools and methods that city staff and leaders can use to evaluate their community's ordinances and codes to identify barriers to the use of green infrastructure,” said Jesse Schomberg, workshop coordinator and Minnesota Sea Grant extension educator. “It will also help participants identify the opportunities available to them to change policies to support the use of green infrastructure.”

The workshop will include exercises using a new code audit tool from Wisconsin Sea Grant and discussion about approaches used in pilot communities that have adopted the Minnesota Minimal Impact Design Standards.


Superior Mayor Jim Paine will be giving welcoming remarks between 9:00 a.m. and 9:30 a.m.

Duluth Mayor Emily Larson will be joining the workshop at noon.

The workshop is sponsored by Minnesota Sea Grant, Wisconsin Sea Grant and University of Minnesota Extension.