Green Notes: Provide feedback on the Climate Action Plan, business waste prevention grants, spring tree sale, and Be a Battery Hero

green notes

Provide feedback on Hennepin County’s draft Climate Action Plan

Hennepin County has released a draft of our first Climate Action Plan (PDF). The county is gathering feedback on the plan through online meetings and a comment form through Wednesday, March 3.

Climate Action Plan cover

Ways to provide feedback

Online community meeting

The county is holding an online meeting on Monday, March 1 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. where county staff will present core goals and strategies. Anyone interested in the county’s response to climate change is encouraged to attend. RSVP here.

Comment form

Individuals who wish to offer feedback on the plan but do not want to attend an online meeting may share their comments through an online feedback form.

Recording of the community meetings

A recording of the first community meeting on February 22 is available. You can view the video (YouTube) and respond to the poll questions.

Screenshot of first slide of Hennepin County Climate Action Plan presentation


Next steps

County staff will summarize the feedback and make final edits to the plan in March. The board is expected to take up formal adoption of the plan, which will include a final public comment process, in April.

Read more about the plan development and previous community engagement efforts process at

Waste prevention grants available to businesses and nonprofits

Hennepin County is providing funding through a new grant program to support projects that prevent waste in the business sector. Areas of focus include:

  • Replacing disposable packaging, dishes, utensils, and cups with reusables
  • Preventing food waste using tracking software and putting food byproducts to greater use
  • Eliminating the use of poly bags for shipping products
  • Developing innovative research and development projects to prevent waste
Bartender at Park Tavern holds up plastic cup and glass filled with beer

Park Tavern in St. Louis Park received a grant to replace single-use disposable cups with reusable cups

This year, $300,000 is available for business waste prevention grants. Each applicant may apply for up to $50,000. Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis as funds remain.

Review the 2021 waste prevention grant guidelines (PDF) for details, and visit the business recycling web page to learn more and apply.

Spring tree sale

Hennepin County is selling trees to property owners to restore and improve woodland areas and increase wildlife habitat.

trees planted as part of restoration project

About the trees available

Bareroot tree bundles

Bareroot trees ranging in size from 6 inches to 2 feet tall will be sold in bundles of 25.

Due to their small size, the trees being sold are best used for restoration and conservation projects.

See the spring tree sale flyer (PDF) for a list of available species, cost, and recommended planting locations.

Why plant trees?

Trees can create shelterbelts, provide visual screens, and offer shade that increases home energy efficiency. Trees also protect water quality, prevent soil erosion, and improve wildlife habitat.

The tree canopy in Hennepin County faces a number of threats that makes planting trees important. The presence of emerald ash borer means that up to 15% of the tree canopy in Hennepin County could be lost in the coming years. Pressure from other pests and diseases as well as climate change exacerbate the need to plant more trees.

Placing an order and picking up trees

Tree orders must be placed by Friday, April 9 by filling out the tree sale order form (PDF).

Trees must be picked up from the Hennepin County Public Works Facility in Medina on Thursday, April 29 from 3 to 7 p.m. or Saturday, May 1 from 9 a.m. to noon. You will select a pickup day when you place your order.

Contact Shane DeGroy at if you have questions regarding the tree sale or for more information about tree species, selection, and planting.

Projects receive funding to clean up contaminated sites 

In February, the county board awarded 11 Environmental Response Fund grants totaling $1.6 million to clean up contaminated sites where environmental costs hinder site improvements. The grant projects will provide for the renovation and/or construction of an estimated 752 units of affordable housing, 50 of which will be used as supportive housing for families who experience homelessness and individuals who have serious and persistent mental illness.

Projects supported by Environmental Response Fund grants provide a variety of community benefits, including creating affordable and moderately priced housing, supporting economic development, developing green space, and making infrastructure improvements. Many grants address environmental contamination in communities that face significant disparities in health, including low income areas and communities of color. Some of these sites become a catalyst for new development in neighboring areas, which can help address racial disparities in housing, employment, and income.  

As a major economic center for 150 years, the county has a concentration of contaminated sites. Much of this contamination was caused by chemical spills or improper disposal of hazardous waste prior to the existence of environmental regulations. These improper disposal practices of the past can still cause soil and groundwater pollution that present environmental risks today. 

Learn more about the grants awarded.

Accomplishments toward preventing the spread aquatic invasive species

The county recently released a report (PDF) highlighting accomplishments, research, and results of work to study and prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.

The report includes:

  • Information on early detection efforts including using aerial drones
  • Results from a boater behavior study
  • Findings from research and pathway analysis
  • Updates on boat access redesign and cleaning station installations
  • Inspection and decontamination data
Boaters putting in at public access with aquatic invasive species prevention signage

Research and pathway analysis

Research projects provide insights on potential management options and the effectiveness of various programs aimed at preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species.

Goldfish study

Goldfish were recently added to the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center’s priority list for research. In 2020, the county partnered with the Nine Mile Creek Watershed District to assess the goldfish population and movement in the Lake Cornelia system in Edina. Goldfish up to 16 inches in length were captured during this study, and it’s estimated that more than 27,000 goldfish exist in North Cornelia alone.

Hybrid milfoil sampling

Hybrid milfoil

The county sampled five lakes for hybrid milfoil in 2020, and hybrid milfoil was confirmed in two of the lakes sampled. Both lakes had unique strains not found in any lakes previously sampled by the University of Minnesota. Further analysis would help understand how prevalent hybrid watermilfoil is throughout the county, how it spreads, and how effective strategies have been to prevent the spread.

Zebra mussel treatment and eDNA study

The county partnered with the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Minnesota to evaluate the efficacy of low-dose copper treatments to control zebra mussel populations. Another study, focusing on detecting eDNA of zebra mussels, was conducted in partnership with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board on six Minneapolis lakes.

For more information on aquatic invasive species prevention programs and research, contact Tony Brough at

Green Tip: Be a Battery Hero by putting batteries in their place

Batteries make our daily lives more convenient. Once they are used, remember to dispose of them properly. Batteries may catch fire, making them dangerous when thrown in the trash or recycling bin.

Be a Battery Hero! Put batteries in their place by dropping them off at a Hennepin County Drop-Off Facility.

Be a battery hero graphic

If an item you are using lights up, makes noise or moves without a plug, it has a battery. Some batteries contain toxic metals, such as cadmium, lead or mercury, which pose a threat to human health and the environment when batteries are improperly disposed.

To help promote proper battery disposal, Hennepin County is partnering with Ramsey and Washington counties to raise awareness in the region with a battery campaign: Be a Battery Hero. The campaign features mischievous batteries that need to be put in their place.

With so many kinds of batteries out there, it can be confusing to know what to do with them. To make it simple, the county accepts all types of household batteries from residents at Hennepin County drop-off facilities. Learn more about battery recycling.

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