Lake Oroville Community Update - November 4, 2022
State Water Project Capability Report
The Department of Water Resources (DWR) released the State Water Project Delivery Capability Report 2021, which is generated every two years for the State Water Project’s (SWP) 29 water agencies for water supply planning.
With California entering a possible fourth dry year, the report will help water managers better understand how key factors like climate change and regulatory and operational considerations affect the operation of the SWP under historical and future scenarios. The report includes estimates on the SWP’s water delivery capability for current and future conditions based on three major factors:
- The effects of population growth on California’s balance of water supply and demand
- State legislation intended to help maintain a reliable water supply
- Impact of potential climate change-driven shifts in hydrologic conditions.
As California experiences a rapidly changing climate, the next report in 2023 will expand on the potential impacts of a shift to a hotter, drier future. This new modeling will be critical to helping SWP water supplier prepare for ongoing impacts to our water supply from climate change. The report is available on the DWR website’s Library Modeling and Analysis webpage.
DWR Offers Grant Programs
DWR is accepting applications for $510 million in financial assistance to support water supply reliability, yard transformation, and migratory birds as California continues to be impacted by climate change and several years of drought conditions. “California is moving aggressively to transform the way we use and manage water so we can thrive in a hotter, drier future,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “Thanks to the leadership of Governor Newsom and the State Legislature, we are deploying much-needed funding to support communities, farmers, and wildlife as we stretch existing supplies and build climate resilience.”
The different grant programs target communities that rely on groundwater, farmers willing to support water conservation in the Delta and aid migratory birds, and an Urban Community Drought Relief Grant Program to help large organizations, water agencies, and communities build resilience, replace thirsty lawns with California native landscaping, and promote water conservation. Information on who is eligible and how to apply before respective deadlines is available on the DWR website’s News Releases webpage.
Oroville Recreation Advisory Committee
The Oroville Recreation Advisory Committee met today, Nov. 4 at the Southside Community Center in Oroville. ORAC was established by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to review and provide recommendations regarding DWR’s recreation plan for the Project No. 2100 – Oroville Facilities. The 13-member committee is made up of representatives from state and local government, sports and recreation groups, and business and community organizations. To obtain a summary of the meeting, send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Control Burn at Loafer Creek
CAL FIRE, Butte County Fire Department, Plumas National Forest, and partners Department of Water Resources (DWR) and California Department of Parks and Recreation (State Parks) have completed control burn activities in the Loafer Creek Recreation Area near Lake Oroville. The control burn removed overgrown ladder fuels and dead and dying vegetation and minimized ground fuels to create a more wildfire resistant landscape. A total of 169 acres were treated.
Fuels reduction activities in the Lake Oroville State Recreation Area and in the Oroville-Thermalito Complex’s Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) boundary are ramping up for the season and will continue through Spring 2023 as weather conditions permit and crews from CAL FIRE, Butte County Sheriff’s Office, and the California Conservation Corps are available.
DWR’s Fuel Load Management Plan (FLMP) works to reduce wildfire risk and increase public safety around Lake Oroville. Previous FLMP projects in the Loafer Creek Recreation Area have been identified as contributing to the slowing of the 2020 North Complex Fire as it approached Kelly Ridge, increasing firefighters’ ability to establish a secure fire line, and preventing the fire from progressing. Ongoing management of this critical area remains a high priority for the FLMP.
The Loafer Point Stage II boat ramp has closed due to falling lake levels. The Bidwell Canyon Stage III boat ramp remains open for boating and for fishing enthusiasts who are finding success at Lake Oroville.
The Feather River Fish Hatchery continues to perform spawning, rearing, and stocking activities and is open daily 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Fish Barrier Dam Overlook area and underwater viewing window is open sunrise to sunset.
The Lake Oroville Visitors Center is open Tuesday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and offers visitors numerous educational exhibits, a theater featuring videos about the building of Oroville Dam, walking and hiking trails, and a 47-foot-tall observation tower providing unsurpassed panoramic views of Lake Oroville, the valley, the foothills and Sierra Nevada, and the Sutter Buttes, known as the smallest mountain range in the world.
DWR and State Parks maintain over 92 miles of trails in the Oroville area, including those around the Lake Oroville Visitor Center. There are paved, accessible trails with only slight elevation changes by the Visitor Center and the North Forebay Day Use Area. Other trails, such as the Brad Freeman Trail between the Spillway Day Use Area and the Diversion Pool, offer steep elevation changes to challenge hikers and mountain bikers. The Saddle Dam Trailhead has facilities for equestrians, including a large parking area to accommodate horse trailers, water trough, and hitching posts, and easy access to trails designated for hikers and horses.
Trails and their permitted uses (hike, bike, horse, multi), day use areas, boat ramps, and other recreation facilities are featured on DWR’s interactive map on DWR’s Lake Oroville Recreation webpage at https://water.ca.gov/What-We-Do/Recreation/Lake-Oroville-Recreation.
Current Lake Operations
The elevation of Oroville’s reservoir is about 676 feet elevation and storage is about 1.08 million acre-feet (MAF), which is 31 percent of its total capacity and 60 percent of historical average. Cooler temperatures in the low-50s to low-60s are forecast for the weekend with a winter storm arriving Sunday through Tuesday and occasional rain showers expected the rest of the week.
The Feather River releases are currently at 2,400 cubic feet per second (cfs) and continue to meet downstream Delta water quality and outflow needs. Flows through the City of Oroville are 650 cfs with 1,750 cfs released from the Thermalito Afterbay Outlet (Outlet) for a total of 2,400 cfs downstream of the Outlet. DWR continues to assess releases to the Feather River daily.
The public can track precipitation, snow, reservoir levels, and more at the California Data Exchange Center at www.cdec.water.ca.gov. The Lake Oroville gage station is identified as “ORO”.
All data as of midnight 11/3/2022