Elk River Basin - Hydrology
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Precipitation | Gaging Stations | Losing Streams | Major Lakes | Dams


Precipitation -- In the Elk River Basin, the average annual precipitation is 41-42 inches, and the average annual runoff is 12 inches. Runoff occurs when precipitation does not infiltrate (enter into) the soil, and it flows overland directly into a stream. Water may not infiltrate the soil because the soil is already saturated, or because the pore space (amount of air between soil particles) is extremely small in the soil. Soils with small pore space include fine clays and silts.


Gaging Stations -- The United States Geological Survey (USGS) maintains several gaging stations that measure water flow in rivers and streams. They have several water quality monitoring stations. Real-time gage data can be found on the USGS website at http://www.usgs.gov   The table below shows all gages and water quality monitoring stations that have been operated throughout the Elk River basin. There is currently one gage operating within the basin.

Gage sites:

Elk River font-family: near Tiff font-family: City  
GAGE Period of Record
October 1939 to present
Elk River at Pineville 1972, 1945, 1947, 1949, 1952, 1962-1965, 1967
Indian Creek at Anderson 1942, 1945, 1947, 1949, 1952, 1962-1965, 1967
Buffalo Creek at Tiff font-family: City 1954, 1962-1964, 1967-1975
Lost Creek at Seneca 1949-1959, 1967-1975
Little Sugar Creek at Caverna 1967-1975
Mikes  Creek  at Powell 5/1994-5/1995
North Indian Creek near Wanda 5/1994-5/1995

Losing Streams -- Permanent streams flow all year round usually by relying on input from groundwater sources.   When a stream flows at normal discharge, this is called ‘base flow’. When runoff flows into streams and it rises to full capacity, this is called ‘bankfull capacity’. You can actually see the bankfull level on the banks of streams that are running at baseflow.   When the streams’ flow exceeds the bankfull capacity, this is termed a ‘flood’. The streams’ water spills over into the river’s ‘floodplain’.   Flooding occurs regularly in non-managed streams and provides an important connection between the river and its floodplain habitats.   The floodplain is a very productive area and provides nutrients to the river. Small wetlands and backwaters are also found in floodplains, and these often provide habitat for amphibians and fish to lay their eggs. When the river spills into its floodplain, the fish eggs that have hatched and matured are released back into the river to live.  There are 169 miles of permanent streams in the Elk River Basin .

Not all streams flow all year long. These are called “intermittent streams”. They are usually streams of a lower order (smaller), and they are found at higher elevations within the watershed. Because of their elevation, they are not able to rely on groundwater sources to keep flowing.   Within the Elk River Basin , there are 17 miles of intermittent streams. Some of these, while not flowing, maintain permanent pools of water along their length.

Losing streams within the Elk River Basin in Missouri :

Stream

Receiving Stream

Little Lost Creek

Lost Creek

Second Order Tributary 

Little Lost Creek

McDougal Branch

Little Lost Creek

Buffalo Creek

 Elk River

Sugar Fork

Buffalo Creek

Middle Indian Creek

North Indian Creek

Bullskin Creek

Indian Creek

Second Order Tributary 

Bullskin Creek

Middle Indian Creek

North Indian Creek

Second Order Tributary 

South Indian Creek

Second Order Tributary 

Middle Indian Creek

Second Order Tributary 

Beaver Branch

Beaver Branch

Indian Creek

Unnamed Tributary #28 

Bullskin Creek

Second Order Tributary 

Cave Spring Branch

Second Order Tributary 

Yarnell Branch

Yarnell Branch

Elk River

Second Order Tributary 

Miser Hollow

Second Order Tributary 

Missouri Creek

Second Order Tributary 

Missouri Creek

Missouri Creek

Little Sugar Creek

Second Order Tributary 

Bear Creek

Bear Creek

Little Sugar Creek

Second Order Tributary 

Bear Creek

Big Sugar Creek

 Elk River


Major Lakes

Major lakes in the Elk River basin in Missouri and Arkansas
Location  Lake  Name  Stream(s) Impounded Surface Acres
 Bella Vista , AR Ann Pinion Hollow (Tributary of Little Sugar Creek) 112
 Bella Vista , AR Avalon Tributary of Tanyard Creek 67
 Bella Vista , AR  Brittany  Tributary of Pinion Hollow 35
 Bella Vista , AR Loch Lomond  Gordon Hollow, Unnamed #104, Unnamed #105 477
 Bella Vista , AR  Norwood  Tributary of Little Sugar Creek 35
 Bella Vista , AR Rayburn Tributary of Little Sugar Creek 45
 Bella Vista , AR  Windsor  Tanyard Creek 220
Noel, MO Lake St. Clair  Elk River  30
 Bella Vista , AR Bella Vista Little Sugar Creek 35
 Southwest  City  Blankenship  Park  Lake  Honey Creek 2

Dams -- The Missouri portion of the Elk River Basin does not contain any major dams. A small dam on the Elk River near Noel, MO, creates Lake St. Clair .   In Oklahoma , the Elk River flowing out of Missouri forms the Elk River Arm of the Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees.

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Missouri Department
of Natural Resources

Missouri Watershed Information Network (MoWIN)
Send comments to: mowin1@missouri.edu
205 Agricultural Engineering
Columbia, MO 65211
Phone: (573) 882-0085
Toll Free: (MO only): 1-877-H20-shed (426-7433)
Fax: (573) 884-5650

Page last updated August 26, 2008