MOORHEAD, MN - Located in northwestern Minnesota, the City of Moorhead lies along the Red River of the North and experiences repetitive flooding. In 1993, the City experienced its fifth damaging flood in the past 20 years, damaging several homes. Four years later, the City experienced record flooding in April of 1997 that substantially damaged 16 homes. The majority of these homes were located in the River Oaks subdivision on an inside bend of the river, making the homes especially flood prone.
In the 1993 flood, there were 15 homes damaged significantly, and the City acquired eight of them in the following year. The remaining homeowners chose to stay and fight future floods on their own. In 1997 those remaining homeowners fought the unrelenting flood and received substantial damage to their homes. At that time, 16 homeowners—a combination of newly and previously flooded homes—voluntarily agreed to have their homes acquired by the City.
The 1993 acquisition project had only a partial local match, which meant that the homeowners had to provide 10 percent of the local match. The homes acquired were relatively high in value, and yet the homeowners realized the importance of flood mitigation to protect their homes. When the properties flooded again in 1997, the record flood would have caused extensive damage, as had occurred to the 16 homes acquired after the 1997 flood.
The 1993 acquisition saved thousands of flood insurance claim dollars and taxpayer's disaster assistance funding in 1997. The City of Moorhead has since acquired several more properties. The properties are now cleared, and the land remains as open space within the City's park system.
Standard Homeowner's insurance policies do not cover flood damage. The National Flood Insurance Program makes Federally backed flood insurance available to homeowners, renters, and business owners in participating communities.