West Trib’s dry dam: the benefits and risks
By Daniel Arens
Over the last decade, Beulah has been no stranger to flooding. Several times, the city has experienced significant events, most notably the Knife River flood in 2009, which sparked an ongoing study by federal, state, and local agencies to address the potential threat from the river.
In 2014, however, Beulah experienced a flash flood incident not from the Knife River itself, but from a small creek that flows down from the heights northwest of town into the Knife. This creek is dubbed “West Trib,” since a corresponding small tributary runs along the east side of Beulah from the heights to the northeast (the “East Trib”).
During a sudden very heavy rainfall over the West Trib’s source, the creek poured down into the basin where Beulah is, causing basement and street flooding in portions of the town. This event brought the idea of a possible dam to help prevent water from coming into town from that direction.
When discussion about Knife River flood control first branched into a public seminar and information meeting in Beulah in 2016, Beulah officials were passionate that West Trib should be included in the study for ways to minimize flood concerns.