Green digest // Annual Greenprint report tracks sustainability

The latest edition of the city’s annual Greenprint report tracking progress toward environmental sustainability targets for 2015 was released in April in a new online format.

The report touts achievements like the addition of 37 miles of on-street bike lanes to Minneapolis streets last year and the placement of more than 300 workers in jobs after they completed a federally funded green job credentialing program.

The report was previously available online, but the new format for 2012 includes more information on the data and measures used by the city, which is also promising more frequent updates. That isn’t to say all of the measures are quite up to date, at least not yet.

The report notes a 12-percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions community-wide between 2006 and 2010, which is significant progress toward the city’s 15-percent reduction target for 2015. But the report includes no data from 2011.

The city offers a more complete picture of greenhouse gas emissions related directly to municipal operations, which have dropped by at least 1.5 percent each year from 2008 to 2011, beating the city’s target. Total municipal emissions fell from more than 109,000 metric tons in 2008 to less than 90,200 metric tons last year, a result due not just to a more energy efficient city but also warmer winters and a “cleaner mix of electricity” from Xcel Energy, according to the report.

The number of trees planted on public and private property last year — or at least those 6,000-plus new trees the city could confirm — outnumbered by several hundred those lost, including trees removed because of Dutch elm disease or the threat of emerald ash borer infestation.

That should mean the city is meeting its goal of maintaining a tree canopy over 31 percent of the city, but that particular measure hasn’t been updated since 2009. The city reached its goal of planting at least 6,000 trees annually in both 2010 and 2011.

The number of rain gardens planted in the city increased by about 15 percent in 2011 to more than 1,400, most of those planted on residential property. The city aims to increase the number of rain gardens to 3,000 by 2015.

A trend more resistant to change has been the number of Minneapolitans driving alone to work, which has held steady in recent years at just above 60 percent, despite the city’s aim to boost carpooling and transit use. The 2010 Census found about 61.2 percent of residents regularly drove alone to work, barely more than the city’s modest goal of 61 percent for 2015.

However, there has been a more significant decline in the number of people working in Minneapolis — and not necessarily living here — who solo-commute by vehicle. In that case, carpooling, bicycle commuting, transit use and other factors may be behind a slow but steady decline since 1990. Still, just over 62 percent of people who work in the city drive alone to their jobs.

To read more of the sixth-annual Greenprint report, or to review reports from previous years, go to minneapolismn.gov and search for “Greenprint.”

Blooms Day is May 5

KENNY — Metro Blooms will honor some of last season’s best gardens at its annual Blooms Day event, 8:30 a.m.–1 p.m. May 5 at Kenny Community School, 5720 Emerson Ave. S.

Mary Maguire Lerman, chair of the Minnesota State Horticultural Society and education officer for St. Paul’s Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, opens the annual gathering with her keynote address on “Blooms Past and Present.” This will be the sixth annual Blooms Day hosted by Metro Blooms, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit whose mission is to promote the use of rain gardens and other environmentally beneficial landscaping practices.

Presentation of the 2011 garden awards follows Lerman’s address. Award categories include best business and public gardens, best boulevard garden, best small and large residential gardens, best container garden and best art in garden.

There also will be free half-hour workshops on flowers and honeybees, edible weeds and wildflowers, recovering from drought and composting, as well as a plant sale and the Metro Garden Expo, featuring representatives from local gardening organizations.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, go to metroblooms.org.

Greenway 

Challenge is now Greenway Glow

Registration is open for the Midtown Greenway Coalition’s largest annual fundraising event, the 2012 Greenway Glow.

The Greenway Glow, which replaces the Greenway Challenge fundraiser, was timed to coincide with Northern Spark, the dusk-to-dawn citywide art festival that debuted last year. The June 9 Greenway Glow event will include a 9 p.m.–midnight bicycle tour of Northern Spark art installations and end with a party at Intermedia Arts in The Wedge.

Registration is $25 before May 25 and $30 after that date. Riders must also raise $75 in pledges to participate.

For more information, go to midtowngreenway.org.

Reach Dylan Thomas at 

dthomas@mnpubs.com.