Category Archives: Multi-Purpose Reservoirs

Multi-Purpose Reservoirs

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.


Dewey Short Visitor Center Announces August Programs

The Dewey Short Visitor Center, located just south of Table Rock Dam on State Highway 165, is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  The visitor center offers interactive displays, a 22 minute movie about the purpose and construction of the dam, and viewing decks overlooking Table Rock Lake and Dam. Picnic facilities and a 2.2 mile asphalt surface trail are located on the visitor center grounds. Park rangers will be offering the following interpretive programs and events at Dewey Short Visitor Center during the month of August.  All programs are free of charge and no registration is required.

Wednesdays, Aug. 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29 at 3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., you can find one of our rangers at the overlook off Highway 165, just across the highway from Dewey Short Visitor Center. The ranger will be available to answer questions about hydropower and point out features of the dam and powerhouse. This program will be recurring every Wednesday at this time for the month of August.

Stop by the Dewey Short Visitor Center on Sundays, Aug. 5, 1219 and 26 at 11 a.m. to learn from a park ranger about a variety of topics.

On Aug. 5, a ranger will have the water safety trivia wheel out. Give it a spin in the visitor center lobby for a chance to win water safety prizes and learn how to stay safe on the water.

On Aug. 19, at 11 a.m., meet with the ranger at the entrance to the Dewey Short Visitor Center to join in on a small walk. During this walk, you will learn the names of and ways to identify native plants and trees that are around the visitor center.

Finally, on Aug. 12 and 26, at 11 a.m., learn about Table Rock Lake’s dam and the production and benefits of hydropower in the lobby of the visitor center.

Programs on Mondays, Aug. 6, 13, 20, 27 at 11 a.m. will be on native animals and water quality.

The visitor center’s old gift shop area by the front desk will be showcasing Animals of the Ozarks exhibit the entire month of August.

On Aug. 6 and 27 a ranger will be present to talk more about the exhibit and displays, the animal skins, skulls and more.

On Aug. 13 and 20, stop by to learn the importance of water quality and how the native animals are connected.

Additionally, on Friday Aug. 17, join us at 3 p.m. for our program, Crafty Critters. Craft your favorite native critter while learning more about the animals of the Ozarks.

On Aug. 11, 18, and 25, water safety programs at 11 a.m. will be held. Learn how to stay safe on and near the water.

On Aug. 25 will have a special water safety program called, ‘Knot’ical Safety. In addition to learning about water safety, learn how to tie some helpful boating knots.

Some programs may be cancelled in inclement weather.  For more information or to check the status of a program, please call 501-340-1943.