Lake Oroville Community Update - June 19, 2020


An aerial view of Loafer Creek Boat Ramp and parking lot.

Boaters on Lake Oroville. DWR/ 2019

Lake Oroville State Recreation Area

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. Lake Oroville recreation information is available on the Department of Water Resources (DWR) Lake Oroville Recreation webpage and the LOSRA webpage.


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. 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. State health officials now require face coverings outdoors when you cannot maintain a safe 6-foot distance from others who are not members of your household. Visit the “State Parks COVID-19 Resource Center” website or the Butte County website for additional information on how to protect public health.


‘New’ Trails Around Thermalito Diversion Pool

Trails on the north side of the Thermalito Diversion Pool, previously closed for the Oroville Dam Spillways Reconstruction Project, are open for hikers and bikers. Visitors are now able to travel from Burma Road to the Spillway Boat Ramp area and North Fork Trails. Partnering with CA Parks, DWR has improved and re-aligned trails in the area, both on the north and south sides of the Diversion Pool, including sections of the Brad Freeman Trail where visitors will ‘switchback’ up a new hill made from rock and dirt left over from the spillways project, providing beautiful views of the Valley, Table Mountain, and the Diversion Pool.


On the south side of the Diversion Pool, DWR constructed a new trail access parking lot west of the Kelly Ridge Power Plant. The graveled parking lot is accessible from Oro Powerhouse Road (off Oro Dam Boulevard East) and provides access to hiking, biking, and fishing opportunities. Boating is not allowed in this upstream area of the Diversion Pool, but boating is allowed on the Diversion Pool further downstream, with access from the Burma Road car-top boat launch off of Cherokee Road. Boating is limited to kayaks, canoes, and other non-gas-powered boats.


Oroville to Celebrate Fourth of July with Fireworks Display

The City of Oroville’s Noon Rotary Club fireworks will begin at approximately 9 p.m. and will be launched from the Oroville Airport. Viewers are encouraged to observe the show from their homes, if possible, or higher locations throughout the City and surrounding area. Viewers are also encouraged to abide by physical distancing and face covering requirements to protect public health, especially if unable to maintain a six-foot distance from others not in your household. Information can be found on the Oroville Area Chamber of Commerce website.


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 808 feet and storage is about 2.2 million acre-feet. Daily average inflows to the lake have ranged between 98 cfs (cubic feet per second) to 1,745 cfs over the past week. 

Dry conditions and warm temperatures are forecasted this weekend with continued dry conditions and warm temperatures during the week of June 22. The Northern Sierra Basin rainfall totals remains below average for the year, at 31.7 percent of normal of year.

On Thursday, June 18, and on Friday, June 19, DWR increased the flow by 300 cfs each day through the City of Oroville to 1,250 cfs for fisheries purposes. The flow released from the Thermalito Afterbay Outlet (Outlet) will be at 2,050 cfs. The total release to the Feather River’s high flow channel downstream of the Outlet remains at 3,300 cfs to meet environmental requirements in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.


All data as of midnight 6/18/20