Flowage Easement Acquisition Process and Schedule
The FM Area Diversion includes a Southern Embankment south of the metro area that will hold back floodwaters during times of extreme flooding.
The area where water is retained during project operation is called the Upstream Mitigation Area, or UMA. The member entities of the Metro Flood Diversion Authority are required to obtain flowage easements within the UMA.
The Metro Flood Diversion Authority has contracted with Crown Appraisals, Inc. to provide research regarding property values to develop the value of the necessary flowage easements. This page includes information related to the development of flowage easement values.
Flowage Easement Acquisition Schedule
- Flowage Easement Appraisals Complete on parcels with tillable farmland – February 2022
- Flowage Easement Appraisals Complete on parcels with non-tillable land – November 2022
- Offer letters sent to property owners with tillable farmland – March 2022
- Land agents negotiate with property owners – March–December 2022
- Flowage easement acquisitions must be completed by late 2024
Property Acquisition Status Report – September 2022
Frequently Asked Questions
Why does there need to be a Flowage Easement on my property?
The MFDA, via its member entities, is required by federal and state regulatory agencies to obtain property rights from property where floodwater is periodically or temporarily stored when the Project operates. Your property is in an area that will require periodic and temporary floodwater storage.
What is a Flowage Easement?
A Flowage Easement is an agreement between a landowner and one of the member entities of the Metro Flood Diversion Authority (MFDA) that includes payment to the landowner and gives MFDA the legal right to periodically and temporarily store floodwater on property when the FM Area Diversion (Project) operates.
What does the Flowage Easement payment cover?
The Flowage Easement payment compensates landowners for granting the legal right to periodically and temporarily store floodwater on their property, including the loss of development rights, if applicable.
Who will be obtaining the Flowage Easements?
The member entities of the MFDA will acquire the Flowage Easements. In North Dakota, the Cass County Joint Water Resource District (CCJWRD) will acquire the easements. In Minnesota, the City of Moorhead, Clay County, or Moorhead Clay County Joint Powers Authority (MCCJPA) will acquire the easements.
When can I expect the payment?
The entity applicable for your property (CCJWRD or MCCJPA) will provide you with an “Agreement to Acquire a Flowage Easement,” which contains the terms of the Flowage Easement transaction, including payment terms. Once the parties sign an “Agreement to Acquire a Flowage Easement,” CCJWRD or MCCJPA will move as quickly as possible to close the transaction, and you will be paid at closing (when the parties sign the Flowage Easement document). Compensation for a Flowage Easement is a one-time payment made at the time the Flowage Easement is acquired.
How often is floodwater going to be stored on my property?
The Project has been modeled by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the MFDA to determine how much operation of the Project would increase the depth of floodwater on a person’s property compared to the same flood without the Project. This increase in floodwater depth due to the Project is called the “depth difference” and is unique for each property. For example, properties that are closer to the Southern Embankment or an existing river corridor typically would see depth differences greater and more often than a property on the edge of the Upstream Mitigation Area (UMA). Specific information regarding the depth and duration of additional floodwater on your property is available online (The Depth Duration and Frequency Table at www.FMDiversion.gov/FlowageEasements) and can be provided in hard copy upon request.
Why are my restrictions different from others going through this process?
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, North Dakota Department of Water Resources, and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources all have different flowage easement requirements. Consequently, the UMA has been divided into four mitigation zones. The mitigation zones were established based on the applicable regulatory agency requirements and by modeling how much the operation of the project would increase the depth of floodwater on a person’s property compared to the same flood without the project. Each mitigation zone has slightly different requirements.
Will I need to clean up my land after the water recedes?
The MFDA has committed to assisting property owners with cleanup from impacts caused by project operations.
Can I still farm or lease my land?
Yes, the Flowage Easement allows farming to continue but development will be restricted. You will retain the right to farm and lease the land as well as to install drainage.
Will this impact my crop insurance?
No, your ability to purchase federal crop insurance remains unchanged. The MFDA is committed to providing supplemental crop loss protections not covered by federal crop insurance, which increases your coverage over typical crop insurance.
Sample Flowage Easement Template
This sample document outlines the components and requirements of flowage easements. Flowage easements will be customized to each specific property and will be recorded.
Sample Agreement to Acquire a Flowage Easement
This sample document contains the terms of the flowage easement purchase, including the payment terms. The Agreement will be customized for each transaction.
Flowage Easement Background Information and Development
Flowage Easement Valuation Presentation
Phase 1 Report
Phase 1 Report was prepared in 2018 incorporating work from a team of experts led by Crown Appraisals, Inc. The focus was on researching comparable sales data and building a regression model to analyze market value changes due to similar flood risk in other areas across the nation.
Phase 1 Presentation
This presentation was given by Crown Appraisals to the MFDA's Land Management Committee in December 2018 to present the findings of their Phase 1 Flowage Easement Valuation Study.
Phase 1B Report
Phase 1B was prepared 2020, and focused on including market data from recent years.
Phase 1B Presentation
This presentation was given by Crown Appraisals to the MFDA's Land Management Committee in August 2020 to present the findings of their Phase 1B Flowage Easement Valuation Study.
Upstream Mitigation Area Maps
Maps represents the best know data at the time, but subject to change based upon additional information.
SRF Consulting Group, Inc.