Lake Oroville Community Update - August 20, 2021
Oroville Dam Citizens Advisory Commission Public Meeting
The California Natural Resources Agency is hosting its eighth Oroville Dam Citizens Advisory Commission meeting on August 27, 2021, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The public meeting will be held online and will include presentations and public comment. The Commission will receive an overview of major projects and maintenance plans at the Oroville Dam facilities and will hear from a representative from the State Water Contractors. The Citizens Advisory Commission is a forum to provide public feedback from the communities surrounding Oroville Dam. For information on how to join the virtual meeting, visit https://bit.ly/OrovilleCAC.
Cold Water Temperatures
Current releases to the Feather River from Oroville Dam’s River Valve Outlet System (RVOS), which draws water from the deepest part of Lake Oroville, has resulted in cold water temperatures in the Feather River and the Thermalito Diversion Pool, Forebay, and Afterbay. Water temperatures are ranging between 48 and 58 degrees.
Persons recreating on the Feather River and other waterbodies this summer are advised to wear life jackets. Entering cold water on hot summer days may result in ‘cold water shock’, causing breathing difficulties as well as changes in heart rate and blood pressure. Unplanned immersion, such as from a boat, kayak, or raft, or from jumping into the water from a beach, can be life-threatening, especially without a life jacket to help you stay afloat. Find cold-water safety tips at the National Weather Service’s Safety webpage.
Boating at Oroville
Due to unsafe conditions, launching of trailered boats at Lake Oroville’s temporary single-lane boat ramp at the Spillway closed August 6. Hand launching of small boats such as canoes or kayaks is permitted. As lake levels drop, the condition of the ramp continues to be reassessed for future use. Both the Lime Saddle and Bidwell Canyon marinas remain open from 8 a.m. until sundown with shuttle service and boat rentals available.
State Parks has issued an order for the Lake Oroville State Recreation Area (LOSRA) that boating access on Lake Oroville is not permitted starting one-half hour after sunset and ending one-half hour before sunrise due to navigational hazards. Houseboats and vessels remaining on the water must be on their mooring ball or in a slip during hours of lake closure. Additional information can be obtained by calling State Parks at (530) 538-2200.
Power boats are allowed on the Thermalito South Forebay as well as the Thermalito Afterbay. A 5-miles per hour speed limit for all boats is in force on the Afterbay north of the Highway 162 bridge and near the brood ponds on the east side of the reservoir. No motorized boating is allowed in the Thermalito North Forebay.
The Monument Hill facility at Thermalito Afterbay provides boat ramp access, restrooms, a picnic area, and a swim beach. The Thermalito South Forebay facility has a two-lane boat ramp, parking, restroom, picnic tables, BBQs, shade trees, and a fish cleaning station.
Visitors to the Thermalito North Forebay will find a full CA Parks facility with restrooms, picnic areas, a swim beach, and the Forebay Aquatic Center with kayaks, paddle boards, and other watercraft available for rent.
Numerous Day Use Area (DUA) facilities with picnic tables and restrooms at Lake Oroville State Recreation Area (LOSRA) are open 8 a.m. to sunset. Bidwell, Lime Saddle, and Loafer Creek Recreation Areas are open 24 hours. The Oroville Dam Crest Road across Oroville Dam is available 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily and open to pedestrians and bicyclists 24-hours a day. The Lake Oroville Visitor Center anticipates re-opening later this summer.
Visit the California Parks LOSRA webpage for current information on facility status and campground reservations. An interactive map of recreation facilities in DWR’s Oroville-Thermalito Complex is available on DWR’s Lake Oroville Recreation webpage. Information about the 11,000-acre Oroville Wildlife Area is available on the California Department of Fish and Wildlife webpage.
And don’t forget to pick up the new Lake Oroville Trails map now available at many Oroville locations including LOSRA kiosks, Oroville Wildlife Area office on Oro Dam Boulevard West, the Oroville Area Chamber of Commerce, and Feather River Recreation and Parks District. Over 97 miles of trails maintained by State Parks and DWR are included.
Blue Green Algae Monitoring
DWR environmental scientists regularly monitor for blue-green algae and their toxins during the summer months. There are currently no harmful algal bloom (HAB) advisories for Lake Oroville, the Thermalito Forebay, or the Thermalito Afterbay.
Water samples are taken at various locations regularly from Memorial Day through Labor Day. To learn more about HABs, or to report a HAB visit the Water Board’s website.
DWR has created a “Drought” webpage where definitions, historical trends, current information, and maps of California’s water systems can be found. Links to resources, DWR activities, research, and data are available. Read about how heatwaves are impacting drought conditions on the DWR Updates webpage. The State of California recently launched a website drought.ca.gov. This website will serve as the State’s primary location for public drought news and information.
DWR is encouraging water conservation efforts by all Californians. Find out ways you can help by visiting the “Save Our Water” website.
Current Lake Operations
The elevation of Oroville’s reservoir is about 633 feet elevation and storage is just below 815-thousand acre-feet which is 23 percent of its total capacity and 34 percent of historical average. Cooler temperatures in the mid to high-80s over the weekend and increasing to the mid to high-90s next week.
During the week of August 16, total flows to the Feather River were reduced by 500 cubic feet per second (cfs) and are currently at 1,250 cfs for meeting downstream water quality and flow requirements. Flow in the low flow channel, through the City of Oroville, is 650 cfs and flow through the Thermalito Afterbay Outlet is 600 cfs. Total releases to the Feather River are assessed daily.
The public can track precipitation, snow, reservoir levels, and more at the California Data Exchange Center at www.cdec.water.ca.gov. Lake Oroville is identified as “ORO”.
All data as of midnight 8/19/2021