Coldwater Creek (Oklahoma)
|Main source||Cimarron County, Oklahoma
|River mouth||Beaver River, Oklahoma
|Basin size||1,903 sq mi (4,930 km2)|
Coldwater Creek is an intermittently-flowing stream in northeastern New Mexico, and the panhandles of Oklahoma and Texas. One source says that Coldwater Creek is also known as Rabbit Ears Creek, because it rises near Rabbit Ears, a pair of mountain peaks in Union County, New Mexico. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), Coldwater Creek drains an area of 1,903 square miles (4,930 km2). As of 2015, Coldwater Creek is essentially a dry stream because of prolonged drought.
From New Mexico, it enters the south-west corner of Cimarron County, Oklahoma in the Oklahoma Panhandle. It passes easterly through Dallam, Sherman, and Hansford counties in the Texas Panhandle. Returning into the Oklahoma Panhandle, the course passes through the Optima National Wildlife Refuge, before joining the Beaver River in Texas County, Oklahoma 0.2 miles (0.32 km) above Optima Lake Dam.[a]
Optima Lake was built to be a reservoir about 4.5 miles (7.2 km) northeast of Hardesty, Oklahoma or 20 miles (32 km) east of Guymon). The lake is now dry most of the time, because of declining water table levels  and periodic droughts that have affected the panhandles of Oklahoma and Texas.[b] As a result, the lake project (completed in 1978), was largely abandoned in 2010 when picnic tables and other structures were demolished for safety reasons. Public use areas have been left open, but are overgrown by vegetation and without services such as electricity and water. Major improvements have been postponed indefinitely because of budget cuts to the Corps of Engineers.
As far back as 1907, the USGS reported that Coldwater Creek is a dry sand bed most of the year.
- "Coldwater Creek". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
- Rathjen, Frederick J. The Texas Panhandle Frontier. 1973. p.3. Available on Google Books. Accessed August 16, 2015.
- USGS, "Site Map for Oklahoma:USGS 07232900 Coldwater Creek near Guymon, OK", Accessed August 16, 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.
- "Optima Lake State Park," AbandonedOK. Accessed August 21, 2015.
- Gould, Charles N. "The Geology and Water Resources of the Western Portion of the Panhandle of Texas."p. 48. U.S. Geological Survey, Water Supply and Irrigation Paper No. 191. 1907. Available on Google Books. Accessed August 16, 2015.