Floodplain Information


Flood risk in the City of Moorhead is largely the result of being located next to the Red River of the North and the flat topography of its valley. The City's floodplain management goals are to minimize risk to life, health, safety, commerce, and governmental services and to avoid extreme public expenditures and impairment to the tax base.

The City of Moorhead participates in the National Flood Insurance Program(NFIP) and Community Rating System(CRS).

Common Acronyms

The following acronyms are commonly used in flood-related documents and discussions:

  • FEMA – Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • NFIP – National Flood Insurance Program
  • SFHA – Special Flood Hazard Area, also known as the 100-year floodplain
  • FIRM – Flood Insurance Rate Map
  • CRS – Community Rating System

Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM)

To identify properties at risk of flooding, FEMA prepares Flood Insurance Studies and Flood Insurance Rate Maps. Flood risk is designated by zones on the map.

FEMA retains sole authority for designating which properties are included or removed from the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), also known as the 100-year floodplain or Zone AE. Congress requires that FEMA periodically remap floodplains to reflect population growth. The City’s maintains FEMA’s Historical and the effective FIRMs. The current effective dates are:

  • Effective FIRM – April 17, 2012
  • Revisions to City Code for floodplain management - March 12, 2012

How the Map Affects You

A large portion of the City is included in the SFHA on the effective FIRM. Some properties that were previously considered low risk (Zone X or 500-year floodplain) have been categorized as high risk (SFHA). Property owners added into the SFHA may be required to purchase flood insurance by their mortgage lender. All SFHA properties with a federally-backed mortgage must carry flood insurance.

Natural and Beneficial Functions of a Floodplain

Floodplains with natural and beneficial functions provide an erosion control buffer and open space so further flood damage does not occur.  Native plants are best suited for floodplains with deep root systems to resist erosion and stabilize the shoreline.  Turf grass has a shallow root system and commonly erodes.    

Related Links

National Weather Service

NOAA provides real-time river gage readings of the Red River, historic crests, along with other information. During a flood event NOAA will show the predicted river crest.   


Email Floodplain staff or call 218.299.5386