(Officers Only) Call:


June 21, 2024

In recent weeks, several townships have been grappling with flooding, wreaking havoc on local communities and infrastructure. The flooding can have a profound impact on residents. Infrastructure damage has been extensive, with bridges washed out and roads rendered impassable.  

There are several resources available to townships struggling with this issue, legal and practical.

Minnesota has placed most of its emergency and disaster powers in Chapter 12. For the purposes of these powers “disaster” means “a situation that creates an actual or imminent serious threat to the health and safety of persons, or a situation that has resulted or is likely to result in catastrophic loss to property or the environment, and for which traditional sources of relief and assistance within the affected area are unable to repair or prevent the injury or loss.”  Minn. Stat. 12.03 subd. 2.   "Emergency" means an unforeseen combination of circumstances that calls for immediate action to prevent a disaster from developing or occurring. Minn. Stat. 12.03 subd. 3.

Local emergencies may be declared by the chair of the county board, for a period of three days.  This period can be extended with the consent of the township board.  A declaration of a local emergency invokes necessary portions of the response and recovery aspects of applicable local or interjurisdictional disaster plans, and may authorize aid and assistance under those plans.  In addition, in emergencies, townships have the authority to act as necessary the protection of life and property (Minn. Stat. 12.37), townships also have some extra powers to tax to pay for these measures (Minn. Stat. 12.26).  

Of course, townships struggling with response are encouraged to contact neighbors and their county.  Once those resources are exhausted, the next step is to ask for assistance at the state level.  The Minnesota Duty Officer Program provides a single answering point for local and state agencies to request state-level assistance for emergencies, serious accidents or incidents, or for reporting hazardous materials and petroleum spills. The duty officer is available 24 hours per day, seven days per week. They specifically recommend calling in cases of flooding once local resources are exhausted.

Contact the Duty Officer

(651) 649-5451


Fax: (651) 296-2300

Finally, for those affected, please consider taking the time to photograph some of the roads and send them to your legislator and to Graham Berg-Moberg at gberg-moberg@mntownships.org to help document our need for transportation funding.