During the flood this past Spring, the water level at Clearwater Lake climbed to a staggering estimated 570.25 feet, surpassing the previous record of 566.6 feet in May of 2002.
After many months of slowly shrinking back to it’s normal elevation, the lake has finally returned to its normal summer pool.
At the beginning of July, the lake was still up to 538.3’ and was steadily dropping at around 1.06’ each day.
Now, only a little over a month later, on August 4, at around 9:30 p.m. the water level was at 497.27.
As lake levels officially return to their normal summer state, so will much of the habitat that surrounds it.
Often times, heavy rain and flooding can have an adverse effects on turkey nesting, deer will move to higher ground, and the fish may travel a distance away to escape the floodwaters.
Many turkeys, deer, elk, and other Ozark critters already had their young by the time the flood happened, and there is no doubt that many animals did not survive the torrential flood waters.
However, the animals are just as resilient at the their habitat and continue to thrive despite the rough Spring weather.
The Missouri Department of Conservation remains hopeful that animal populations will not be hindered in the coming seasons as flood recovery presses on.
Small streams and rivers may be permanently altered in the case of a flood but, other than a few missing trees, Clearwater Lake remains virtually the same.
Now that the lake level is officially back to normal, the habitat will start rebuilding itself. Much of the debris that was washed in has already started to decompose or washed away.
This brings in worms and other decomposing creatures, which will break down logs and limbs.
These decomposers will then be eaten by fish, which will be eaten by birds, and the food chain recirculates.
As the water returns to normal, so do the lives of each inhabitant of Clearwater Lake.