Serving The Bakken And Beyond

ND Land Board Seeks Engineering Proposals

The North Dakota Board of University and School Lands began soliciting bids from engineering firms this past December, to clarify the legal designations on disputed Ordinary High Water Mark acreage along the Missouri River that was identified by a study conducted by Wenck Associates.

The proposals from the engineering firms will also include costs, and will specify when they will report their results in 2019.

The board is asking the firms to specify quarter-quarter to full allocate acreages below the OHWM, including the riverbed. In addition, they will be asked to identify accretion acreages attributable to riparian or upland landowners by quarter-quarter sections and identifying acreage to two decimal places.

The Wenck study, which now exceeds $400,000, was authorized by the ND Industrial Commission, but did not provide accurate acreage allocations for property transfer. The study looked at 30 areas along an 83-mile stretch of the Missouri River.

Once the legal assignments are made, the board can begin to refund bonus and royalty payments to oil companies and private land owners.

The original legislation under SB 2134 authorized refunds to start within two years, but the board will seek authorization from legislators in January to extend the timeline because of the additional engineering studies.