Beaver River (Oklahoma)
Map of the Canadian River watershed showing the Beaver River
|⁃ location||Cimarron County, Oklahoma|
|Mouth||North Canadian River|
|Woodward County, Oklahoma|
|1,952 ft (595 m)|
|Length||280 mi (450 km)|
|Basin size||11,690 square miles (30,300 km2)|
The Beaver River is an intermittent river, 280 miles (450 km) long, in western Oklahoma and northern Texas in the United States. It is a tributary of the North Canadian River, draining an area of 11,690 square miles (30,300 km2) in a watershed that extends to northeastern New Mexico and includes most of the Oklahoma Panhandle.
The Beaver River is formed in Cimarron County, Oklahoma, by the confluence of Corrumpa Creek and Seneca Creek and flows generally eastward throughout its course. From Cimarron County it dips southward and flows for 15 miles (24 km) through Sherman County, Texas, then returns to Oklahoma for the remainder of its course, flowing through Texas, Beaver, Harper, Ellis, and Woodward counties. The river passes to the north of the city of Guymon, continues through the Optima Lake project where it is joined by Coldwater Creek just before the dam, flows through the town of Beaver, and passes to the north of the town of Fort Supply. Northeast of Fort Supply the Beaver River joins Wolf Creek to form the North Canadian River in the Hal and Fern Cooper WMA.
Name and variants
The name "North Canadian River" has sometimes been applied to the Beaver River and one of its headwaters tributaries, Corrumpa Creek, including by the U.S. federal government from 1914 to 1970. A 1914 decision by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (USBGN) defined the North Canadian River as including both streams as part of its course, with "Beaver River" as a variant name for a segment of it. A 1970 USBGN decision revised the 1914 definition, defining the Beaver River as beginning at the confluence of Corrumpa Creek and Seneca Creek, and ending where it joins Wolf Creek to form the North Canadian River. The USBGN's Geographic Names Information System lists "Beaver Creek," "North Canadian River," "North Fork Canadian River," and "North Fork of Canadian River" as historical variant names for the river.
The river was known for occasional floods, including an October 1923 flood amounting to 109,000 acre-feet of water, and a September 1941 flood in which the Beaver's flow increased to 44,200 cubic feet per second. The river's most recent flow of significance was in October 1965 at 17,800 cubic feet per second.
Currently, the Beaver River and its tributaries flow with water intermittently. In part, this is because the underground source of the river, the Ogallala Aquifer, being the water table beneath far western Oklahoma and parts of seven other Western states as well, has been subject to depletion in recent decades due to increased irrigation and drinking water withdrawals. Water flow in the Beaver at Guymon, in the years prior to the start of construction on the Optima Lake dam (1937–1966) averaged 32.2 ft3/s, but only 7 ft3/s in the decade (1977-1987) after the dam was built. In the last five years (1989–1993 inclusive) that the U.S. Geological Survey could measure its current near Guymon, the Beaver's flow averaged less than one-fifth of 1 ft3/s. A few short stretches, such as McNees Crossing (one mile east of State Road 406), have persistent flow. The remainder flows under the sand except after rain falls or snow melts. The area drained by the Beaver River in the high plains of northeastern New Mexico and the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles receives on average less than 8 inches (20 cm) of rain annually.
The Beaver does occasionally still flow some distance. It was reported on April 18, 2016, that the river was flowing near Guymon for the first time in decades following two days of intense rains that caused Texas County to be declared a disaster area.
Some of the major tributaries of Beaver River are (from West to East):
- Cienequilla Creek ( )
- Sand Creek ( )
- Tepee Creek ( )
- Goff Creek ( )
- Pony Creek ( )
- Coldwater Creek ( )
- Palo Duro Creek ( )
- Red Horse Creek ( )
- Bull Creek ( )
- Jackson Creek ( )
- Sharp Creek ( )
- Willow Creek ( )
- Elm Creek ( )
- Dugout Creek ( )
- Home Creek ( )
- Timber Creek ( )
- Camp Creek ( )
- Kidds Creek ( )
- Mexico Creek ( )
- Kiowa Creek ( )
- Spring Creek ( )
- Clear Creek ( )
- U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Beaver River
- United States Board on Geographic Names (1970-11-10). "Beaver River". Retrieved 2019-09-25.
- U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset/Watershed Boundary Dataset, area data covering Beaver River watershed (6-digit Hydrologic Unit Codes 111001 and 111002), viewed in The National Map, accessed 2019-09-25
- "The National Map". viewer.nationalmap.gov. Retrieved 2019-09-25.
- U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Corrumpa Creek
- U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Seneca Creek
- "Cooper WMA". Retrieved 2019-09-26.
- Section 216 Initial Appraisal Report, Optima Lake, September 2010, US Army Corps of Engineers"US Army Corps of Engineers, Tulsa District, website" (PDF). Retrieved June 1, 2015.
- Logan Layden, “If you Want to Build a New Lake in Oklahoma, Forget History,” March 28, 2013, StateImpact Oklahoma"StateImpact Oklahoma website". Retrieved 2015-06-01.
- Logan Layden, "If you Want to Build a New Lake in Oklahoma, Forget History," March 28, 2013, StateImpact Oklahoma. Accessed August 22, 2015.
- Actually .1864 of 1 cubic foot per second, calculated from the annual data at the U.S. Geological Survey Website waterdata.usgs.com, accessed 2017-05-23, using search parameters Surface Water, Historical Observations, Site Number, 07232500, Annual Statistics, checking the box for Discharge Cubic Feet Per Second, and submitting.
- "Beaver River flows for first time in decades near Guymon". Travis Ruiz, Assistant News Director, Fox25 Oklahoma City, April 18, 2016. Retrieved May 10, 2019.