There is a “Five years ago” feature on the Featherless Flyer Archive page of the Friends website; while updating the information for July 2007, we were reminded that on July 7, 2007, Lake Texoma topped the spillway, 640’ and areas around the lake, including much of Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge, remained flooded for several months. According to the US Army Corps of Engineers, the lake's highest elevation was recorded on May 6, 1990 at 644.76’. The top of Denison Dam is at 670’ elevation. This photo of Dead Woman's Pond was taken in August, 2007:
What a contrast to the summer of 2011, when the shoreline retreated a half mile or more as the drought wore on and on, and you could walk underneath Harris Creek Bridge!
During the 2007 flood the Visitor Center could not be reached from the driveway off Refuge Road, but by walking from the parking area for the Audio/Visual Classroom and the maintenance area. For many months after the waters receded visitors would remark on the dead areas on the cedar trees, where they had been partially submerged. With Wildlife Drive under water, travelers had to find new routes around the Refuge, and who knows what kinds of adaptations were made by wildlife during that summer.
The Friends even received emails urging the Refuge to “do something” about the flooding.
Lakeside areas were also flooded in 2008, and at the Refuge, fishermen were in in the wheat field near the Visitor Center and Refuge Road was looking like a boat ramp:
Waters rose again in 2009, and shown here, the finale for the historic kiosk that used to stand alongside Wildlife Drive, near the historic marker.
One more blast from the past, a youtube video of water going over the spillway in 2007!
In the Texoma area during rainy seasons and drought alike, “What’s the lake level today?” is asked almost as often as “What’s the weather today”!
If you are interested in the history of the Hagerman area and Lake Texoma, plan to attend History Day at Hagerman on Sunday, July 29. Drs. Jerry Lincecum and Peggy Redshaw will be on hand to facilitate sharing of stories, and representatives of the Friends of Hagerman would love to copy any clippings or photos brought in, for the Refuge files.
Post by Sue Malnory
Photos by Dick Malnory