Lake Oroville Community Update - June 12, 2020


boat on Lake Oroville

Boater on Lake Oroville. DWR/2019

Lake Oroville State Recreation Area

Lake Oroville State Recreation Area (LOSRA) boat ramps, parking lots, and day use areas are open to the public while campgrounds, floating campsites, and the Lake Oroville Visitors Center remain closed to protect public health. The Oroville Dam Spillway Boat Ramp area is open 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. with other LOSRA boat ramps open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Trails and Day Use Areas are open from 8 a.m. to sunset. Lake Oroville recreation information is available on the Department of Water Resources (DWR) Lake Oroville Recreation webpage and the LOSRA webpage. The Thermalito Diversion Pool and the North Forebay Recreation Area are also open to the public. Additionally, the Oroville Wildlife Area, including the Thermalito Afterbay, recently changed its operating hours to 1.5 hours before sunrise to one hour after sunset.


Other local recreation facilities are also open, including both the Bidwell Canyon and Lake Oroville (Lime Saddle) Marinas and the Forebay Aquatic Center at the North Forebay Recreation Area which is open Friday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. for boat, kayak, and other aquatic equipment rentals.


California Department of Parks and Recreation (CA Parks) staff are working closely with Butte County health officials to develop procedures to open LOSRA campgrounds this summer. At this time, all campgrounds - including floating campsites, and the Lake Oroville Visitors Center remain closed to protect public health. CA Parks encourages visitors to maintain a physical distance of six feet or more and that gatherings, picnics, and parties are not allowed if physical distancing cannot be maintained. Local health officials also recommend face coverings, especially when you cannot maintain a safe 6-foot distance from others. Please visit the “State Parks Covid-19 Resource Center” website or the Butte County website for additional information on how to protect public health. 


DWR and Partners Reduce Fire Risk

DWR has successfully completed their 2019-2020 fuels reduction season. Approximately 180 acres around the Oroville Facilities Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Project boundary was treated through DWR’s Fuel Load Management Program (FLMP). The FLMP, administered by DWR in coordination with federal, state, and local fire and resources management agencies, aims to reduce wildfire risk, improve public safety, and enhance forest health around Lake Oroville.

Work typically starts in the fall when rainy weather arrives and continues through the winter and spring months. Treatment methods such as thinning, pile burning, grazing, lop and scatter, and prescribed burning are used to achieve fuels reduction. DWR and partners CAL FIRE, California Conservation Corps, Butte County Sheriff Office, Butte County Fire Safe Council, and private contractors are currently developing plans to start work again this fall when weather conditions allow.

Oroville Area Algal Blooms Status

DWR environmental scientists regularly monitor Lake Oroville, the Thermalito North Forebay, and the Thermalito Afterbay for blue-green algae and their toxins. There are currently no Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) advisories for Lake Oroville, the Thermalito Forebay, or the Thermalito Afterbay. If elevated levels of cyanobacteria toxins are found, DWR staff work with California’s Regional Water Quality Control Board and recreation area managers to notify the public and post advisory signs at affected waterbodies. To learn more about HABs, visit the Water Board’s website.


Online Water Education Program Goes Live on DWR YouTube Channel

Join us for Water Wednesdays at 1 p.m. on DWR’s YouTube channel. These family-friendly programs are designed for kids 10 to 14 but are appropriate for anyone who would like to learn more about California’s water resources. Recent and upcoming ‘episodes’ discuss where our water comes from: reservoirs, snowpack and groundwater. Interested participants can pre-register through Zoom; this will allow participants to pose questions to that week’s speaker.


Visit the DWR Events webpage at to join next Wednesday’s chat. Information will also be posted on DWR’s social media pages at @CA_DWR (Twitter) and @CADWR (Facebook). Previous episodes of Water Wednesdays are available on DWR’s YouTube channel.


Current Lake Operations

The elevation of Oroville’s reservoir is about 813 feet and storage is about 2.35 million acre-feet. Daily average inflows to the lake have ranged between 1,597 cfs (cubic feet per second) to 2,487 cfs over the past week. 

Dry conditions and mild temperatures are forecasted this weekend with continued dry conditions and warming temperatures during the week of June 15. The Northern Sierra Basin rainfall totals remains below average for the year, at 63 percent of normal, and snowpack is significantly below average, measuring 7 percent of normal for this time of year.

On Thursday, June 11, the total releases to Feather River were increased from 3,000 cfs to 3,300 cfs to meet downstream Bay-Delta water quality and flow standards. Flows through the City of Oroville are about 650 cfs and flows from the Thermalito Afterbay Outlet (Outlet) are about 2,650 cfs to achieve 3,300 cfs for the Feather River’s high flow channel downstream of the Outlet.

All data as of midnight 6/11/20