All posts by ejimenez

Clearwater Lake Celebrating 70th Anniversary

Clearwater Lake is celebrating its 70th anniversary.  Clearwater Lake was completed in the fall of 1948 and offers many recreational activities for hobbyists who enjoy swimming, boating, fishing, picnicking, sightseeing and hunting.

Clearwater was one of four dam and reservoir projects approved by Congress via the Flood Control Act of 1938. While construction of Clearwater was underway, the Corps was also simultaneously working on construction of the Blue Mountain, Nimrod, and Norfork dams. However, in 1942 the war effort took its toll on the projects.

Clearwater lake gate tower.

Only Norfork and Nimrod were completed during the war due to their categorization as a power source for future defense projects. As a result, both Blue Mountain and Clearwater were tabled until after the war. Construction on Clearwater was reinitiated in 1946 and completed in September 1948.

The Clearwater dam is an amazing structure. For 69 years Clearwater has been able to successfully provide flood risk management on the Black River through normal operations. During the floods of 2017, water flowed over the auxiliary spillway for the first time. If the water gets past a certain threshold in the lake the water releases over the spillway which acts as an overflow valve. This is important because if the water has no place to go, it can create excessive pressure which could compromise the structure of the dam.

Today, Clearwater offers many benefits for nature and recreational enthusiasts. When speaking to Randy Devenport the Chief of Lakes and Rivers, he fondly refers to Clearwater as, “The hidden jewel of the Ozarks.” It is nestled between the boot heel of Missouri and Saint Louis and offers a quiet and peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. As the Operations Project Manager Fred Esser puts it, “It’s a great place to disengage with technology and engage with nature.”

Summer shot of sunflowers at one of Clearwater’s parks.

For those who enjoy boating, Clearwater is unique from other lakes in that it does not have private boat docks. This means that boaters can come ashore almost anywhere on the lake, creating a wilderness like quality. Three marinas offer bait, fuel, equipment rentals, and general merchandise such as ice and snacks.

Whether you are a beginner, or an experienced sportsman Clearwater offers a host of plentiful fishing opportunities such as river and lake fishing, and paddle fish snagging something that is not readily available in a lot of areas in Missouri. The lake is full of a variety of fish that include bass, crappie, walleye, and catfish. Numerous fish shelters have been placed in the lake and maps are readily available.

Early morning fishing on Clearwater Lake.

If you prefer camping, Clearwater hosts a bevy of resources to choose from. Throughout the five campgrounds there are numerous facilities including grills, fireplaces, tables, group shelters, showers and water wells.

For those who love to hike, Clearwater offers numerous trails in which you can spot wildlife such as elk, bear, and mountain lions. Clearwater’s trails are known for its natural springs and general outdoor beauty.

For 70 years Clearwater has been a sanctuary for those wanting to get away from it all. It has been a hidden gem for years, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that it is around for many generations to enjoy in the years to come.

Norfork Lake Celebrates 75th Anniversary

Norfork Lake is celebrating its 75th anniversary. The lake is one of the most desired fishing destinations in Arkansas. Its remoteness allows you to really lose yourself in the natural beauty and splendor it provides.

Beautiful sunset over Norfork Lake.

Norfork Lake is rich with history dating back to WW II. The dam was originally created to be one of six dams built to accomplish flood control in the White River Basin. However, it ended up being used for so much more.

House of Representatives member Clyde T. Ellis and others, knew that the lakes and rivers of Arkansas could be powerful sources for creating electric power for the war effort. For years prior to the war, Ellis had been pushing hydroelectric power. He knew that Arkansas retained the necessary resources to provide electricity to the defense industries, and in 1941 his efforts paid off. The Flood Control bill passed the House, granting full authorization for power facilities at Norfork Dam.

It was completed in June 1943, and power generation starting in June of 1944. Congress also approved construction of three additional Arkansas dam and reservoir projects in 1938 for flood control. These included Nimrod, Blue Mountain, and Clearwater.

President Truman at the Norfork and Bull Shoals Dedications circa July 2, 1952.

Norfork and Nimrod were the only two dams that included power generating equipment. Although Nimrod was fitted with penstocks for power turbines, it was completed in 1942 without the remainder of the equipment needed to allow for hydroelectric power generation. The other two dams, Blue Mountain and Clearwater were tabled until after the war, but Norfork Dam received military priority status and became the Little Rock District Corp of Engineers’ first war project because of its categorization as a power source for future defense projects. As a result, Arkansas ended up becoming became a vital resource in war effort contributions.

Today, Norfork Dam and Lake provide a multitude of benefits to the state of Arkansas. In 2017, Norfork created revenue amounting to approximately 6.5 million to U.S. Treasury. “The lake is an integral part of the White River System which was designed for flood risk management to help protect homes, businesses and properties across a large part of Arkansas from the flooding” said Chief of Operations for the Little Rock District, Kevin McDaniels. And in 2017, the dam prevented 4.5 million dollars in damages based on the dam’s flood control prevention mechanisms.

However, flood management is not the only benefit Norfolk offers Arkansans. McDaniels goes on to discuss how the dam and lake also provide, “Hydroelectric power to thousands of homes, abundant recreational opportunities, outstanding hunting and fishing and high quality habitat for fish and wildlife.”

Fishing is still king here. Almost all varieties of fresh water fish are found in the lake, and it also contains one of the best striped bass fisheries in Arkansas. Numerous state record setting catches have come out of Norfork Lake here such as a rock bass, weighing in at 1 pound 8 ounces.