Lake Oroville Community Update - October 21, 2022
Flood Preparedness Week
More than seven million California residents are at risk of flooding, and many don’t realize it. Flooding happens throughout the state; every California county has received a flood-related emergency declaration in the past 20 years and flood events during and after drought conditions are not uncommon.
Make sure you are prepared for flood events through these three steps:
- Be aware of your risk: Know whether your home is in a flood zone; pay attention to weather forecasts; and listen to local authorities.
- Be prepared: Always have an emergency evacuation kit ready; be prepared to evacuate early; have a household inventory with copies of critical documents; and have a plan for where you will go in an emergency and what to do with your pets.
- Take action: Evacuate immediately when advised to. Also, homeowners’ insurance does not cover damage due to flooding; consider purchasing flood insurance.
Even in drought conditions, climate change is resulting in extreme variations of weather, including large storm events which increase risk of flooding, particularly in areas damaged by wildfire. Wildfires dramatically change the landscape and ground conditions in a watershed. Natural, unburned vegetation and soil normally act as a sponge during a rainfall event. However, the heat from a fire can bake the ground, creating a surface that will not absorb water and can increase the speed with which water flows off the slope, leading to damaging, and sometimes catastrophic, mud and debris flows. These conditions can be present for years after a wildfire. Visit DWR’s Flood Preparedness webpage for information about keeping you, your loved ones, and community safe.
Oroville Dam Citizens Advisory Commission
The California Natural Resources Agency hosted its 12th Oroville Dam Citizens Advisory Commission meeting on Oct. 21. The public meeting was held at the Southside Oroville Community Center in Oroville and included 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. Several attendees provided public comments. Comments are being collected on the draft 3-year report of the Commission’s activities. Please visit the Commission’s report webpage at https://resources.ca.gov/Initiatives/Oroville-Dam-Citizens-Advisory-Commission/Oroville-Dam-Citizens-Advisory-Commission-Report for details.
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. A transcript of the meeting will be available on this webpage in the coming weeks.
Volunteer Opportunities Available
California Climate Action Corps - Community Climate Action Day is taking place on October 29, 2022, in Butte County. This event and celebration is hosted by California Volunteers, Office of the Governor, Community Organized Relief Effort, and Butte County community organizations. More than 100 volunteers will support projects throughout the county focused on urban greening, wildfire resiliency, and organic waste and edible food recovery.
California Climate Action Corps ”Community Climate Action Day” provides a great opportunity for persons to serve with other volunteers and get connected with organizations engaged in climate action work year-round. Sign up for a volunteer opportunity today!
Oroville Radial Gates Project
DWR and contractor staff are continuing 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. Work to reinstall the gate hoist assembly began on Oct. 17 so it will be available and fully operational throughout the flood season. This work is anticipated to be accomplished by Oct. 31. 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 and partners DWR and California Department of Parks and Recreation (State Parks) postponed the planned 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 has been rescheduled for the week of Oct. 24 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.
DWR and State Parks maintain over 92 miles of trails in the Oroville area. Popular with mountain bikers, hikers and equestrians, trails near the Thermalito Diversion Pool can be accessed from Cherokee Road and offer ample opportunity for viewing the local wildlife. 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. 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 686 feet elevation and storage is about 1.15 million acre-feet (MAF), which is 33 percent of its total capacity and 63 percent of historical average. A fall cool-down is forecasted for the weekend and into next week with temperatures dropping into the low-to-upper-70s.
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 10/20/2022