Lake Oroville Community Update - October 11, 2019


Boater on Lake Oroville.

Boater on Lake Oroville. DWR/2019

2019-2020 Operations Plan for Lake Oroville

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) submitted its 2019-2020 flood operations plan for Lake Oroville to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and California Division of Safety of Dams (DSOD) last week. DWR will operate the reservoir to safely manage lake levels during the winter months, providing flood protection for downstream communities while meeting downstream water deliveries and environmental requirements. Due to the fact that the Comprehensive Needs Assessment (CNA) is still ongoing, this year’s operations plan maintains the same enhanced flood pool as the 2018-2019 winter operations plan. The CNA will provide additional information to guide long-term operations of Oroville Reservoir.

Water Year 2020 Begins with Robust Reservoir Storage

California’s new water year began on Oct. 1 with significantly more water in storage than the previous year thanks to above-average snow and precipitation across the state. Lake Oroville, the State Water Project’s largest reservoir, is currently at 102 percent of average for this time of year compared to just 62 percent of average at this time last year.

The water year runs from October 1 to September 30. For more information, visit:

Inaugural Oroville Dam Citizens Advisory Commission Meeting Held Last Month

Thank you to everyone who participated in the inaugural Oroville Dam Citizens Advisory Commission meeting, which took place on Monday, September 30. A summary and transcript of the meeting will be uploaded to the Oroville Dam Citizens Advisory Commission webpage in the coming weeks.

For details about the Commission’s next meeting and for more information about the commission, visit:

Spillway Construction Site Office Trailers to Temporarily Relocate to Upper Overlook        

As construction winds down at the Oroville Spillways Emergency Recovery Project, four construction office trailers will be temporarily relocated in early October to the Upper Overlook parking lot. The offices are expected to remain in the parking lot for at least two months. Public parking at the Upper Overlook will not be impacted.

Fuel Load Management Project at Bidwell Canyon Requires Intermittent Lane Closure

The California Conservation Corps (CCC) will begin a vegetation thinning and chipping project to minimize risk and lessen the spread of wildfire Monday, October 14 through November 1. The work will take place adjacent to Bidwell Canyon Road just before the Bidwell Canyon CA State Parks entrance kiosk. At the end of each week, CCC chipping of removed brush will require one-way traffic controls due to a required lane closure. Drivers are cautioned to be alert for workers and flaggers.

Public Access to the Spillway Boat Ramp Area and Dam Crest Road

As a reminder, the Spillway Boat Ramp area and parking lots are open to the public Friday through Sunday from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. The area remains closed Monday through Thursday to accommodate ongoing construction.

Walkers, joggers and bicyclists continue to enjoy daily access to the pedestrian lane on the lakeside of Dam Crest Road from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., as well as parking at the Upper Overlook. For safety considerations, the public can only drive across Dam Crest Road within the operating hours of the Spillway Boat Ramp, which are Friday through Sunday from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Lake Level

The current elevation of Oroville reservoir is 793 feet, and daily average water releases from Lake Oroville are approximately 4,600 cubic feet per second (cfs) including 3,400 cfs release to the high flow channel of the Feather River, downstream of the Thermalito Afterbay River Outlet. DWR has begun a gradual ramping down of these releases to the Feather River during the first half of October to achieve a sustainable spawning flow of 2,500 cfs by mid-month.