Lake Oroville Community Update - August 7, 2020


boats on Lake Oroville

Boats on Lake Oroville. DWR/2020

California Natural Resources Agency to Host Oroville Dam Citizens Advisory Commission Public Meeting

The California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA), in accordance with Governor Newsom’s directives and to protect public health during the COVID-19 pandemic, is hosting the fourth Oroville Dam Citizens Advisory Commission (CAC) meeting virtually on Friday, August 21 from 10 a.m. to noon. The meeting’s agenda will focus on ongoing dam safety initiatives and current recreation access as well as planned improvements; there will also be an opportunity for members of the public to ask questions and make comments. Persons interested in participating are directed to the CAC’s website for information on how to join the meeting. Instructions and links to the planned webinar will be posted on the CAC website the week of August 17.


The Oroville Dam Citizens Advisory Commission, created by Senate Bill 955 (Nielsen) in 2018, established a new public forum for discussing issues related to Oroville Dam facilities. The Commission, housed within CNRA, represents the communities surrounding Oroville Dam for the purposes of providing public input as well as receiving information from state agencies related to the Oroville Dam, its related structures, the Feather River Fish Hatchery, and the Oroville-Thermalito Complex.


Oroville Recreation Update

Lake Oroville and the North and South Forebay boat ramps, parking lots, and day use areas are open. Except for the Oroville Dam Spillway Boat Ramp area, which is open 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, Lake Oroville State Recreation Area (LOSRA) boat ramps are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Trails and day use areas are open from 8 a.m. to sunset. Floating campsites and group campsites are not currently available to reduce the spread of COVID-19. For information about State Parks camping, as well as COVID-19 public health requirements while recreating, visit


The Oroville Wildlife Area (OWA), including the Thermalito Afterbay, is open 1.5 hours before sunrise to one hour after sunset and offers miles of trails and wildlife viewing. The Forebay Aquatic Center at the North Forebay Recreation Area is open Friday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. for boat, kayak, and other aquatic equipment rentals. Information and an interactive map of Lake Oroville and OWA recreation facilities is available on the Department of Water Resources (DWR) Lake Oroville Recreation webpage. The Lake Oroville Visitors Center remains closed due to COVID-19.


Temporary Closure of Dan Beebe Trail

The portion of the Dan Beebe Trail between the Lake Oroville Visitors Center and the Oroville Dam Upper Overlook will be closed from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, August 11 for excavation work. Signage to notify the public of the closure will be placed at the trail’s access points near the Visitors Center and the Upper Overlook.


Installation of Piezometers at Oroville Dam 

DWR continues installation of four new piezometers at the headworks of Oroville Dam’s main, or flood control outlet (FCO), spillway. The piezometers will collect data from the FCO foundation. The data will be used to confirm drain performance, inform on-going structural modeling and analyses, and inform future improvements to the structure. The work is expected to be completed by August 21. Water used in the drilling process will be visible as it flows down the spillway.


This work is part of early implementation of the Oroville Dam Safety Comprehensive Needs Assessment (CNA), which is focused on identifying priorities and appropriate solutions to bolster the integrity and resiliency of the Oroville Dam complex to ensure public safety. A number of piezometers were originally installed in the dam fifty years ago which, as anticipated, have since stopped functioning. DWR continues its work to install additional instrumentation throughout the facility including eight new piezometers installed earlier this year at the base of Oroville Dam.


Oroville Area Algal Blooms Status

DWR environmental scientists regularly monitor Lake Oroville, the Thermalito North Forebay, and the Thermalito Afterbay for cyanobacteria (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.


Algal blooms continue to be present in the West Branch and the North Fork of Lake Oroville. Lab analysis of water samples from these water bodies continues to find minimal or no amounts of cyanobacteria in the algae. Sampling continues weekly and if elevated levels of cyanobacteria or toxins are found, DWR staff will work with California’s Regional Water Quality Control Board and recreation area managers to notify the public and post advisory signs at the affected waterbody. Non-toxic algal blooms can be irritating or even dangerous to pets and small children. To learn more about HABs, visit the Water Board’s website and DWR’s digital article on the DWR Updates webpage. The public is encouraged to report algal blooms on the HAB reporting webpage.


DWR Water Education Program Educates Youth Online This Summer

Missing Summer Camp? Join DWR’s virtual Summer Camp. DWR Staff will be providing fun activities relating to DWR’s recent Water Wednesday’s videos. The 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. Each video is available on DWR’s YouTube channel and a listing of all the program’s episodes can be found by clicking the Playlists tab. Activity suggestions and information can be found in the video’s comment section as they are added each week.


Current Lake Operations

The elevation of Oroville’s reservoir is about 765 feet and storage is about 1.82 million acre-feet. Daily average inflows to the lake have ranged between 859 cfs (cubic feet per second) to 1,993 over the past week. Dry conditions and warm temperatures continue this weekend and into the week of August 10. The Northern Sierra Basin rainfall totals remains below average for the year, at 63 percent of normal.

The total releases to Feather River are 2,300 cfs to meet downstream Bay-Delta water quality and flow standards. Flows through the City of Oroville are at 1,550 cfs. Flows from the Thermalito Afterbay Outlet (Outlet) are about 750 cfs for a total of 2,300 cfs for the Feather River’s high flow channel downstream of the Outlet. Throughout the week flows through the City of Oroville and the Outlet may fluctuate for fisheries purposes.


All data as of midnight 8/6/2020