Oroville Dam Citizens Advisory Commission
The California Natural Resources Agency is hosting its 12th Oroville Dam Citizens Advisory Commission meeting on Oct. 21, 10 a.m. to noon. The public meeting will be held at the Southside Oroville Community Center, located at 2959 Lower Wyandotte Road, Oroville, CA 95966, and will include presentations and public comment. The Commission will receive a brief update on the development of a report on the Commission’s activities, presentations on inundation maps and new atmospheric river research, and an update on Oroville Dam facility winter operations. There also will be time for public input. The Citizens Advisory Commission is a forum for questions and feedback from the communities surrounding Oroville Dam. For information on the meeting, please visit https://bit.ly/OrovilleCAC.
Oroville Radial Gates Project
During the week of Oct. 17, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) and contractor staff will continue work on the multi-year project to perform maintenance repairs on the eight radial gate hoist assemblies of Oroville Dam’s Flood Control Outlet (FCO), or main spillway, as part of the Oroville Radial Gates Maintenance Repair Project.
In August, contractor Unico removed the gate hoist assembly located above FCO radial gate #8 for inspection, routine maintenance, and reverse engineering to develop design and fabrication drawings for a replica hoist. Beginning Oct. 17, the gate hoist assembly will be reinstalled to be available and fully operational throughout the flood season. This work is anticipated to be accomplished over the next couple of weeks. Crane operations from the Spillway bridge may be visible to the public.
After hoist #8 is re-installed by Unico, Unico will begin work on the design and fabrication of a replica hoist that will be installed while subsequent hoists are removed for inspection and full maintenance repairs to address any deficiencies due to wear, age, and serviceability of the equipment. The design and fabrication phase of the project is anticipated to be completed by May 2023.
Occurring yearly beginning in 2023, maintenance repairs will be performed on one gate hoist assembly per year during the dry season (May 1 to Oct. 31) using the spare hoist assembly. The project is anticipated to be fully completed for all eight radial gates in 2030.
Control Burn at Loafer Creek
CAL FIRE/Butte County Fire Department will be working with DWR and California Department of Parks and Recreation (State Parks) to conduct a control burn on 163 acres in the Loafer Creek Recreation Area near Lake Oroville. The CAL FIRE Vegetation Management Project’s work to remove overgrown ladder fuels and dead and dying vegetation is scheduled to take place Oct. 17 – 31 depending on weather and incident activity in Butte County. Smoke from the activity may be visible around the Oroville area.
DWR’s Fuel Load Management Program’s (FLMP) partnership with CAL FIRE and other organizations works to reduce wildfire risk, increase public safety, and enhance forest and watershed health around Lake Oroville. Previous FLMP partnership 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 spreading forward. Ongoing management of this critical area remains a high priority for the FLMP partnership.
Butte County Public Works Department crews will be paving the entrances to Vance Avenue and Palm Avenue near the Oroville Wildlife Area south of the Thermalito Afterbay Monday, Oct. 17 through Thursday, Oct. 20. One-way traffic controls will be in effect and traffic delays should be expected. The department has also performed grading work on Vance Avenue as part of the improvement project.
There are newer trails on the north side of the Thermalito Diversion Pool, including sections of the area’s Brad Freeman Trail that have been re-aligned and which switchback up a new hill made from rock and dirt left over from the spillways project. This trail provides beautiful views of the Valley, Table Mountain, and the Diversion Pool where an abundant wealth of wildlife, including bald eagles, osprey, and burrowing owls, can be viewed.
Popular with mountain bikers, hikers and equestrians, the Diversion Pool’s trails can be accessed from Cherokee Road. Trails along the south side of the Diversion Pool can be accessed from the new trail access parking lot west of the South Feather Powerhouse and accessible from Hyatt Powerplant Road.
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.
California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) staff at the Feather River Fish Hatchery continue to perform spawning, rearing, and stocking activities for the chinook salmon returning to the Feather River to finish their life cycle and start a new one. The hatchery is open daily 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. where visitors can watch spawning operations when CDFW staff are working. The Fish Barrier Dam Overlook area and underwater viewing window is open sunrise to sunset.
The Loafer Point Stage II and Bidwell Canyon Stage III ramps continue to be open and will remain so for the rest of the season. The Spillway boat ramp and the Lime Saddle boat ramp are closed for the season and will re-open when lake levels rise again from upcoming fall and winter precipitation. Shuttle service to moored boats is available at the Lime Saddle Marina from 8:30 am. to 4 p.m. The Bidwell Canyon Marina will also be open from 8:30 am. to 8 p.m. with shuttle service available during that time.
The Lake Oroville Visitor Center is open Tuesday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Current Lake Operations
The elevation of Oroville’s reservoir is about 690 feet elevation and storage is about 1.18 million acre-feet (MAF), which is 34 percent of its total capacity and 64 percent of historical average. A mild cool-down is forecasted for the latter part of the weekend with temperatures dropping into the upper-70s and variable temperatures ranging from the low- to-upper-80s next 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 10/13/2022