Data for Impacts of beaver dams on low-flow hydrology and hydraulics, Knife River, Minnesota

  • Karen B Gran (Creator)
  • Salli F Dymond (Creator)
  • Josh D Dumke (Creator)
  • Rebecca L Teasley (Creator)
  • Hannah Behar (Creator)
  • Emma G Burgeson (Creator)



These data were collected as part of a two-year investigation into the impacts of beaver dam removal on low-flow hydrology and hydraulics in the Knife River, Minnesota, USA. Eight sub-basins were monitored for two years, organized as four pairs of sub-basins. The study focused on small headwater sub-basins, with areas ranging from 1.58 to 6.4 km2. In 2018, all of the study basins had active beaver dams. In 2019, the beavers were removed and dams notched in half of the sub-basins, one half of each of the four pairs. Data collection continued throughout the 2019 season measuring impacts post-dam removal.

All sites reside within the Knife River watershed in northern Minnesota. Sensors to record pressure and temperature were installed within beaver impoundments, downstream of beaver impoundments in the stream and in shallow groundwater wells within the floodplain, and in the air. Additional in-stream measurements of velocity and depth were collected along cross-sections in order to measure discharge and develop rating curves at each sampling site. Lastly, water samples were collected at all sites to measure stable isotopes of oxygen and hydrogen. The ReadMe file contains all metadata information describing the data files. Details of sample collection and analysis can be found in Behar (2020) and Burgeson (2021). A more focused study occurred at two sites (2B and 4B) in July-August 2019. Additional temperature sensors were installed downstream of beaver impoundments in the streambed. A weather station was installed at site 2B to record air temperature, relative humidity, solar radiation, and wind speed. A rhodamine tracer test was run at each site with dye released into the subsurface in the beaver impoundment with samples collected downstream. One tracer test was run at site 2B on 7/27-7/28/19, and one tracer test was run at site 4B on 7/23-7/24/19. For further information, please consult Behar (2020).

Funding information
Sponsorship: Minnesota SeaGrant

Referenced by
Behar, H. Modeling stream thermal dynamics: The influence of beaver dams in a Minnesota watershed. [M.S. Thesis]. Duluth, MN: University of Minnesota Duluth; 2020,
Burgeson, E. Beaver dam impacts on low flow hydrology in the Knife River watershed. [M.S. Thesis]. Duluth, MN: University of Minnesota Duluth; 2021, in prep.
Date made availableJun 7 2921
PublisherData Repository for the University of Minnesota
Date of data productionMay 18 2018 - Dec 21 2019
Geographical coverageKnife River watershed

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