Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Geography & Geographic Information Science


Flood hazards in the U.S. cause billions of dollars in property damage and disrupt the lives of thousands of people each year. Increased numbers of people continue to move into hazardous zones and the associated increase in capital investment in these zones lead to an escalation in flood losses over time (Cutter and Emrich 2005). Despite local efforts to mitigate flood hazards and federal mandates to regulate development in flood-prone areas, flood damages continue to increase nationally. Terminal lakes have surface water sourc es such as from rivers and streams, but have no surface water outlets (Newton 2003). Devils Lake, a terminal lake, has risen nearly 25 feet since 1993, more than tripling its surface area (Leistritz et al. 2002). The rising surface water elevation of Devils Lake has destroyed hi ndreds of homes and commercial buildings, and inundated thousands of acres of productive farmland (North Dakota State Water Commission 2007).

The City of Devils Lake is not the only town battling the rising lake. Surrounding towns in the Lake Region, most notably Minnewaukan, have experienced historic rises in lake level. In 1993, the lake was eight miles from Minnewaukan, and now it is in their backyard. With Devils Lake now at its highest water surface elevation on record, the City of Minnewaukan must develop flood mitigation strategies and identify areas that will require the most immediate assistance if the lake level continues to rise. My study systematically identifies the commercial and residential buildings affected at these increasing water surface elevations by conducting a site-specific analysis within HAZUS. The HAZUS software is not normally used to calculate terminal lakeshore flooding. However, with the appropriate data, a site-specific analysis on a terminal lakeshore environment is the exception. The purpose of my study is to provide detailed damage estimate information at future water surface elevations, to better inform the City of Minnewaukan in their decision-making processes.

T he damage estimation profiles for the City of Minnewaukan at increasing water surface elevations produced expected results. There was an increase in number of buildings damaged and increase in building dollar losses, with each increasing water surface elevation. The commercial and residential buildings affected at these increasing water surface elevations were systematically identified by conducting a site specific analysis and representing building location and dollar loss with graduated symbols ;n ArcMap. The school becomes completely flooded at WSE 1456 feet. Main Street, at the entrance of the city, becomes impassible at WSE 1457 feet, due to increased flood waters filling the side ditches and spilling onto the road. Because Main Street is one of the major transportation routes into the city and critical infrastructure would be cut off, partial relocation should be considered at WSE 1457 feet. This study met all of its stated objectives and goals, showing that HAZUS functionality can be extended to lakeshore flooding hazards.