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Experts To Warn Great Lake Cities About Possible Effects Of Climate Change

Groups Gathered For Meeting This Week

Danielle Kaeding/WPR

Federal, state, local and tribal groups are converging on Superior for the fifth annual St. Louis River Summit on Tuesday and Wednesday, where a keynote speaker said he sees climate change as the biggest hurdle facing Great Lakes cities.

David Ullrich, Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative executive director, said intense rainfall and flooding have been costly for cities like the Twin Ports.

“As they rebuild after many of these events, they have to do it in a way that reduces the likelihood of extensive damage in the future,” he said.

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Heather Stirratt, with the Coastal Management Office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said cities need to plan for more frequent extremes with climate change.

“Whether it’s dealing with stormwater management, whether it’s dealing with our utilities, whether it’s dealing with our navigation and commercial shipping – either way, we need to be planning for the range of outcomes we could experience in the next 50 to 100 years,” she said.

Ullrich said cities may have to absorb costs in the short-run to avoid paying more later on.