Lake Oroville Community Update - July 10, 2020


An aerial overview of Lake Oroville and the reconstructed Lake Oroville main spillway and emergency spillway at the Butte County, California site.

Aerial overview of Lake Oroville and the reconstructed Lake Oroville main spillway and emergency spillway.

Oroville Recreation Update

Lake Oroville and the North and South Forebay boat ramps, parking lots, and day use areas are open. The Oroville Dam Spillway Boat Ramp area is open 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. with other Lake Oroville State Recreation Area (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. Floating campsites and group campsites are not currently available to reduce the spread of COVID-19. To make a reservation, visit or call 800-444-7275. For more information about camping, visit


California Department of Parks and Recreation (CA Parks) encourages visitors to practice physical distancing and avoid congregating with people outside their immediate household. The state now requires face coverings indoors and outdoors when you cannot maintain a safe 6-foot distance from people outside of your immediate household. Additional information regarding public health practices and requirements is available on the LOSRA webpage.


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.


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.


A large bloom has been identified in the West Branch of Lake Oroville. Samples have been sent to the lab for analysis. If elevated levels of cyanobacteria 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. To learn more about HABs, visit the Water Board’s website and DWR’s digital article on the DWR Updates webpage.


DWR to Install Additional Piezometers at Oroville Dam 

Next week, DWR will begin work to install four new piezometers at the headworks of Oroville Dam’s main, or flood control outlet (FCO), spillway. The piezometers will continuously collect data from the FCO foundation. The data will be used to confirm drain performance, inform on-going structural modeling and analyses, and to inform future improvements to the structure.

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. Work to improve access to the headworks structure from the lakeside will begin on July 13. A type of scaffolding will be installed inside the gate structures to protect worker safety. Installation of the piezometers is anticipated to begin in early August.

A number of piezometers were originally installed in the dam fifty years ago which, as anticipated, have since stopped functioning. Including the four headworks piezometers, and the eight new piezometers installed earlier this year at the base of Oroville Dam, DWR continues its work to install additional instrumentation throughout the facility.

New Trail Signage Informs Area Visitors

DWR and CA Parks staff have installed new trail signposts and new trail marker icons in numerous locations around Lake Oroville and the Thermalito Diversion Pool to help area visitors identify the activity (hiking, biking and/or horseback riding) allowed on the trails. New signposts also provide directions to newly realigned trails with more sign and icon installations planned for other areas including the Oroville Wildlife Area.


The Oroville Facility Trail system features 91 miles of trails, with access to Lake Oroville, Thermalito Diversion Pool, Thermalito Afterbay, and Thermalito Forebay. The trails consist of an array of single track, fire roads, and paved trails which border beautiful natural areas, provide stunning views, and allow plentiful opportunities for wildlife viewing. Trail users can seasonally view salmon, grebes, loons, waterfowl, bald eagles, turkey vultures, snakes, frogs, and more throughout the trail network. Find area trails on the Lake Oroville Recreation webpage’s interactive map.


An American Icon Calls Lake Oroville Home

Did you know that seven nesting pairs of bald eagles call Lake Oroville home? This year they are successfully raising nine young eaglets, many of whom have grown their feathers and are now able to fly. Lake Oroville provides prime habitat for bald eagles with tall trees and access to one of their primary food sources – fish. Discover how DWR Environmental Scientists help protect our Oroville eagles on the DWR Updates 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 790 feet and storage is about 2.08 million acre-feet. Daily average inflows to the lake have ranged between 1,296 cfs (cubic feet per second) to 1,607 over the past week.

Dry conditions and very warm temperatures continue this weekend and into the week of July 13. The Northern Sierra Basin rainfall totals remains below average for the year, at 63 percent of normal.

The total releases to Feather River are 3,300 cfs to meet downstream Bay-Delta water quality and flow standards. Flows through the City of Oroville are about 950 cfs and flows from the Thermalito Afterbay Outlet (Outlet) are about 2,350 cfs to achieve 3,300 cfs for the Feather River’s high flow channel downstream of the Outlet.

All data as of midnight 7/9/2019