Flowage Easements

A flowage easement is an agreement between a landowner and one of the member entities of the MFDA (either the Cass County Joint Water Resource District in North Dakota or the Moorhead-Clay County Joint Powers Authority in Minnesota) that allows the MFDA to store floodwater on the property in exchange for a payment to the landowner. The area where water is retained during project operation is called the upstream mitigation area, or UMA.

The MFDA has contracted with Crown Appraisals Inc. to provide research regarding property values to develop the value of the necessary flowage easements.

Questions on flowage easements?

Visit the Land Management FAQs or Download Flowage Easement FAQs

Or, contact your Land Agent.

Phase 1 Flowage Easement Report & Presentation

Prepared in 2018 by Crown Appraisals Inc., the Phase 1 Report focused 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. Findings were presented to the MFDA Land Management Committee in December 2018. Phase 1B was prepared in 2020 and focused on including market data from recent years.


Download Phase 1 Report

Download Phase 1 Presentation


Download Phase 1B Report

Flowage Easement Appraisal Process

To understand flowage easement appraisals, it is helpful to look at the property rights before and after the project:

Property Rights Before Project Property Rights After Project
Farming the property Farming the property
Leasing the property Leasing the property
Installing drainage Installing drainage
Constructing buildings


Typically for farmland, the loss of development rights is calculated at 8 percent to 10 percent of land value, depending on the upstream mitigation zone. Meanwhile, the increased flood risk can range from 7 to 30 percent. The total reduction in value for agriculture land is 15 to 40 percent.

Flowage Easement Informational Meetings

See the presentation slides or watch the meetings in full.

Flowage Easement Information Meeting – March 21,2022

Download Presentation Slides Here

UMA Crop Insurance and Flowage Easement Updates – November 16, 2022

Download UMA Crop Insurance Q&A

Sample Agreements

Flowage easements will be customized to each specific property and will be recorded. Understand more about the agreements using the sample documents below.

  • Sample agreements contain terms of the flowage easement purchase and payment terms.
  • Flowage easement templates outline the components and requirements of flowage easements.
Minnesota Samples

Agreement to Acquire a Flowage Easement – Minnesota

Flowage Easement Template – Minnesota

North Dakota Samples

Agreement to Acquire a Flowage Easement – North Dakota

Flowage Easement Template – North Dakota

Depth, Duration and Frequency of Impacts

One of the biggest considerations in flowage easements is how often and for how long floodwater will need to be stored on a certain property. The table below has water level data for 20-, 50-, 100- and 500-year flood events, both before and after the project based on each owner identification number (OIN).

Download Impact Table

Download Map