Lake Oroville Community Update - March 6, 2020


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

Aerial view of Loafer Creek Boat Ramp and parking lot at Lake Oroville. DWR/ 2019

DWR and CAL FIRE Work to Reduce Fire Fuels at Loafer Creek

Visitors to Loafer Creek and motorists on State Route 162 near Forbestown Road may see crews cutting and piling brush on over 30 acres targeted for fuel reduction. These activities are part of DWR’s Fuel Load Management Plan (FLMP) and CAL FIRE’s Vegetation Management Program which aim to reduce wildfire risk, improve public safety, and enhance forest health by thinning and removing hazardous fuels and overgrown vegetation that increases the intensity of wildfires. CAL FIRE crews will return to dispose of the piles once sufficient rainfall has occurred to allow safe burning.


Motorists will also encounter one-way traffic controls on State Route 162 from Arbol Avenue to 1.5 miles past Forbestown Road as Caltrans crews perform tree work for the next several weeks in the highway right-of-way. Motorists should anticipate delays.


DWR Continues Installation of New Piezometers at Oroville Dam

DWR contractors continue  installation of eight new piezometers at the base of the dam. These piezometers will further monitor seepage and will be used to confirm the seepage measurements DWR already collects. Seepage is normal and expected, especially in large, earthen dams like Oroville. Seepage is measured and collected through a drainage system. If seepage were to change dramatically, it would indicate an issue that would need further investigation.

This work is part of the 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 will continue for several weeks, generally between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

 There were 56 piezometers initially installed in the dam fifty years ago which, as anticipated, have since stopped functioning. DWR plans to install additional piezometers throughout the facility in the coming years.

Current Lake Operations

The elevation of Oroville’s reservoir is about 805 feet and storage is nearly 2.25 million acre-feet. Daily average inflows to the lake have ranged between 1,759 cfs (cubic feet per second) to 2,022 cfs over the past week.


During the week of March 9, there continues to be a chance of light precipitation. Currently, in the Northern Sierra Basin, rainfall is below average, at 48 percent of normal, and snowpack is also below average, measuring 44 percent of normal for this time of year.


On March 5 through March 7, releases to the Feather River were reduced from 2,250 cfs to 1,750 cfs to conserve storage in the reservoir in case of continued dry weather. The current release is to meet environmental requirements in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  At this rate, there is about 800 cfs flowing through the City of Oroville and about 950 cfs being released from the Thermalito Afterbay Outlet.


All data as of midnight 3/5/20