Rights-of-Way and Special Access

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Rights-of-Way and special access requests are typically submitted by acquisition professionals, federal or state agencies, political subdivisions, survey and engineering companies, universities, groups, or individuals for temporary or permanent rights.  Early first contact, application completion, and requested document submission are essential for timely processing.  Access requests typically move through the process more quickly as less items are generally required. It is required that all proposed projects are thoroughly evaluated and completed in such a manner that benefits the Trusts while preserving the land for future revenue generation.

Survey work on Trust lands requires a NDDTL issued permit (see FAQ section and survey requirement and guideline document link below) and construction is only authorized when a company receives a Commissioner signed NDDTL issued conveyance document.  Application submission does not authorize work on Trust Lands.  Failure to obtain a NDDTL issued document signed by the Commissioner prior to construction commencement or violating the conveyance terms may result in penalties and/or termination.

Early first contact, application submission, requested item submission, and receipt of all payments are essential for timely processing.  Access requests typically move through the process more quickly as less items are generally required. 

Please review the FAQ section below and email landrow@nd.gov if you have further questions.

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On-Lease Activity Surface Damage Agreements (“SDA”)

Activities completed under state mineral leases such as an oil well site, etc.

Easements

Activities such as pipelines, utility distribution or transmission lines, public roads, off-lease well sites, saltwater disposals, subsurface well bores, tower sites, wind turbines, etc.

Permits

Access Permits - Activities such as research projects or organized events (i.e. bird watching group)

Construction/Infrastructure Permits - Activities such as temporary surface layflat lines, temporary construction, access roads, etc.

Planning and Pre-Construction Survey Permits - Activities such as metes-and-bounds, centerline and cadastral land surveys, ocular reconnaissance cultural resource surveys, biological and vegetative surveys, and wetland delineations, etc.

Prospecting Permits - Activities such as aggregate prospecting, coal prospecting, seismic/geophysical exploration, etc.

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Other Resources

Guidelines & Specifications:

Rights-of-Way Sample Documents - COMING SOON!

Please contact the Department for sample documents at this time. Thank you.

  • Planning & Preconstruction Survey Permit
  • Linear Easement
  • Oil Well Surface Damage Agreement
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FAQs

Please review the frequently asked questions (FAQs) below for help answering initial inquiries on the ROW application process. If you need further assistance beyond these FAQs, please email landrow@nd.gov.

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Is there an application fee for ROW requests? If so, can it be paid when completing the online application with a credit card?
  • There is an application fee for off-lease activities (easements, permits, etc.). The application fee is $250 per application.
  • There is no application fee for on-lease activities.
  • Currently, application fees are unable to be collected during the application process. NDDTL is pursuing the possibility of this function in the future. Application fees must be collected prior to requesting approval and issuing the appropriate conveyance document requested. 
What is required to complete survey work on Trust Lands?
  • An online application from the company (Grantee) (or the survey/engineering company on behalf of the company) for each proposed project and,
  • An active “Planning and Preconstruction Survey” permit must be held by the survey/engineering company completing survey work.
  • Currently the Planning and Preconstruction Survey permit has a permit consideration of $500 and is valid for five years. There is a sample Planning and Preconstruction Permit in the sample documents section.
  • NDDTL must approve the proposed route prior to survey work.  Route approval may require an onsite meeting with NDDTL to determine if an acceptable route is present.  This is necessary to decrease the likelihood of having to re-survey the area.
What is considered when NDDTL reviews a proposed ROW?
  • NDDTL reviews the financial benefit to the trusts
  • Availability of alternate encumbrance site or route
  • The least environmentally damaging site or route regardless of property ownership
  • Physical stability of the landscape
  • Other potential future uses for the trust lands, including urban development;
  • Potential mineral and other material development including oil, gas, coal, construction aggregate, sodium sulfate, chemical substances, metallic ore, or uranium ore
  • Feasibility for reclamation; Maintenance of existing wetlands and water flows
  • Any cultural, historical, archeological, and paleontological resources
  • Habitat for federally listed threatened and endangered species
  • Location of the proposed route or site in relation to section lines, quarter section lines and corridors
  • Potential liability to the trusts
  • Applicant’s past encumbrances on trust lands
  • Applicant’s financial stability
  • Any other information relevant to the application which would assist in the determination
Who receives Easement and Surface Damage Payments for projects on Trust Lands?

Companies need to work with NDDTL early in the project development for routing approval however, consideration payments should be settled with NDDTL after most or all the adjacent private landowners have settled as acceptable consideration offers for the Trusts are based on rates paid to private landowners and other received acceptable offers for similar projects. This process is used to allow the Trusts to receive a fair market payment but not set the market.  An appraisal may be required to determine compensation as needed.  All payments must be collected prior to requesting approval and issuing the appropriate conveyance document requested. 

Payments must be sent directly to NDDTL. NDDTL will determine the surface lessee's share of the damages, if any, and make the payment to our tenant.

Grantee must pay or repair all damages that may occur to surface tenant's annual crops, fences, buildings or other improvements caused by construction or maintenance of the right of way.

Does NDDTL sign Company issued forms?

NDDTL does not sign Company issued documents or forms; only documents issued by NDDTL will be signed by the Commissioner. NDDTL may be able to issue an acknowledgment letter to satisfy bill receipts or other agency requests, depending on the nature of the request.

Do political subdivisions need a road easement for section line roads? What about other access roads across School Trust Lands?

If a political subdivision managed section line road is contained within the statutory width (33 feet on either side of the section line), no easement is required. If the road is outside of the statutory width, the additional acreage must be obtained via easement or a permit for temporary back slope area must be issued.

Access road permits are required to access well pads, private residences, section line roads that a political subdivision does not manage, etc. An individual or company cannot simply build a road across School Trust Lands. Please contact NDDTL for specific circumstances and needs prior to project commencement to obtain the proper permissions.

Does NDDTL have required Construction and Reclamation specifications?

Yes, construction cannot begin until the Commissioner has signed the appropriate documents. The terms and conditions for construction are defined the approved and signed document.

NDDTL requires a specific native seed mix to be planted for reclamation: Seed Mix

NDDTL’s reclamation contact: cjbarth@nd.gov