Lake Oroville Community Update: December 6


A drone provides a view of boaters utilizing the newly opened Oroville Dam Spillway Boat Ramp in Butte County, California. The California State Recreation Area’s spillway boat ramp area, including multi-use trails, are open to the public Friday through Sunday from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. The area will remain closed Monday through Thursday to accommodate ongoing construction. Photo taken August 16, 2019.

A drone provides a view of boaters utilizing the newly opened Oroville Dam Spillway Boat Ramp in Butte County, California.

DWR Installation of New Lighting on Main Spillway

Following manufacturer’s instructions, new lighting installed on Oroville Dam’s main spillway will remain on for a continuous 72-hour period as part of activation testing. It’s anticipated this testing period will now take place in mid-December. The public’s patience is appreciated as DWR complies with the lights’ activation requirements. After testing is complete, the lights will then be used intermittently based on operational needs.

California Natural Resources Agency’s Oroville Dam Citizens Advisory Commission Public Meeting

Thank you to everyone who participated in the second Oroville Dam Citizens Advisory Commission meeting, which took place on Wednesday, Nov. 20 in Oroville. A summary and transcript of the meeting will be uploaded to the Oroville Dam Citizens Advisory Commission webpage in the coming weeks. Details about the Commission’s next meeting and information about the Commission is also available on the webpage.

During the site visit at Oroville Dam as part of last week’s Commission meeting, DWR referenced a briefing held in May with a team of experts known as the Board of Consultants on how the main spillway performed when it was used in April 2019. A link to the recap of that briefing can found here

Spillway Boat Ramp Area Holiday and Winter Access Hours

The winter access schedule for Lake Oroville’s Spillway Boat Ramp provides daily public access to the area from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Motorists are urged to turn on headlights and pay attention to pedestrian and bicyclist safety.

Walkers, joggers and bicyclists may continue to enjoy daily access on the pedestrian lane on the lakeside of Dam Crest/Oroville Dam Road from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., as well as parking at the Upper Overlook. These access hours for Dam Crest/Oroville Dam Road will remain the same through the winter months.

Current Lake Operations

The elevation of Oroville reservoir is nearly 777 feet and storage is about 1.9 million acre-feet. Daily average inflows to the lake have ranged between 3,100 cfs to 6,300 cfs over the past week.

There is about 3 to 4 inches of precipitation projected in the Feather River basin December 6 through 8 with average inflows ranging between 4,000 cfs to 11,000 cfs. For the week of December 9, high pressure is expected to build following the anticipated storm over the weekend. Storm activity is currently being directed to the north with no forecasted precipitation expected for the Feather River watershed. The forecast also suggests the potential for weak atmospheric river activity to reach the basin between Dec. 11 – Dec. 13. DWR will continue to monitor forecasts as they evolve.

The water needs from Lake Oroville are about 3,600 cfs. This includes about 1,100 cfs used locally for rice decomposition and waterfowl habitat and about 2,500 cfs to the high flow channel of the Feather River, downstream of the Thermalito Afterbay River Outlet, to meet Feather River flow and environmental requirements in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.


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