Taking Action to Protect Salmon
The Department of Water Resources (DWR) leads or supports more than 120 ongoing projects to protect endangered or threatened species in California’s waterways, including salmon. DWR is partnering with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and many other federal, state, local, non-governmental, tribal, and academic partners to study, support, and protect salmon while continuing to meet the health and safety water needs of our communities.
Over the past several months, DWR has been sharing on its social media channels newly created videos and a storymap featuring some of these projects. The content highlights the ways DWR and its partners are restoring critical habitat, improving migration success, and increasing monitoring efforts to better track the status of salmon populations and devise new strategies to improve their status, especially as climate change impacts increase.
These videos and other educational videos about salmon can be found on DWR’s social media channels – Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram – as well as on the DWR YouTube channel (search for Salmon 2022). The storymap, first found in the news release “State Agencies Partner to Support Salmon Populations While Supplying Water To Millions of Californians” published this spring, has been updated with each new video. A selection of these videos, as well as a virtual tour of the Feather River Fish Hatchery, will be shown at Oroville’s historic State Theater during the Salmon Festival on Saturday, Sept. 24.
The Oroville Salmon Festival is always held on the last Saturday in September to celebrate the annual return of Chinook salmon to the Feather River. The 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. event on Sept. 24 is centered around the Feather River Fish Hatchery and Historic Downtown Oroville. From an ‘Arts & Crafts Alley’ and Oro Dam Cruisers ‘Gold Rush Car Show’ on Montgomery Street, to a kids activity zone, food vendors (including BBQ salmon), music, live glass blowing, and informational booths, visitors and families will find many activities to enjoy in Oroville’s historic downtown and along the Feather River levee.
North of downtown Oroville, across the Feather River, the Feather River Fish Hatchery will open at 9 a.m. and close at 3 p.m. on Saturday for visitors wishing to learn more about the yearly return of Chinook salmon to the river. Educational tours will be offered throughout the day and visitors will find informational booths, food, and a mobile fish exhibit. On the northeast side of the hatchery site, the Fish Barrier Dam Overlook, fish ladder, and underwater viewing window are also open to the public.
Those wanting to see the salmon in their natural habitat can sign up for the Forebay Aquatic Center’s “Feather River Salmon Tours” kayak trips down the Feather River. DWR biologists will offer participants education about the salmonid life cycle and river habitat. For details, visit the Salmon Festival’s website.
Hatchery Fish Ladder Is Open
Chinook salmon are completing their life cycle and returning home to the Feather River to lay
eggs for the next generation of salmon. The Feather River Fish Hatchery opened the fish ladder on Sept. 19.
Visitors to the Hatchery’s Fish Barrier Dam Overlook Viewing Area can view salmon congregating and jumping in the Feather River and see them up close through the Underwater Viewing Window as they swim up the fish ladder. The Overlook is located off Table Mountain Boulevard north of the Hatchery. Visitors are also encouraged to visit the Hatchery, open daily 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Feather River Fish Hatchery’s spawning operations enables millions of Chinook salmon to be released every spring. This year, the hatchery released 11.3 million young Chinook salmon smolts and 497,000 steelhead to the waters of the Feather River, San Pablo Bay, and San Francisco Bay to support Northern California and Pacific Ocean fisheries. The Feather River Fish Hatchery is a California State Water Project facility owned and maintained by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), which funds hatchery operations. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) operates the hatchery, including fish spawning, rearing, and stocking activities.
The Spillway boat ramp and the Lime Saddle boat ramp are closed due to lake elevations falling below safe launching levels. The Loafer Point Stage II and Bidwell Canyon Stage III ramps continue to be open and are anticipated to remain open through the winter.
Boaters are reminded the Lime Saddle Marina will remain open and shuttle service to moored boats is available 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.
A return to warmer temperatures and less smoke from area wildfires provides a welcome opportunity to take advantage of the spectacular views from the crest of Oroville Dam. Visitors can often see bicyclists, walkers, and joggers on the 1.01-mile length of the crest (2.02 miles round-trip) where a near constant breeze makes for a comfortable exercise experience. The Lake Oroville area has over 92 miles of trails, all open to hiking, with some also allowing for horseback riding, some also allowing biking, and some designated for “multi-use” where all three activities may occur on the same trail. Oroville Dam Crest Road and the newly built Lakeside Access Road to the Spillway Day Use Area, as well as the North Fork and Potter’s Ravine trail complex, are open 24-hours per day and monitored by DWR’s security contractor to ensure public safety.
Trails and their permitted uses, day use areas, boat ramps and other recreation facilities are featured on DWR’s interactive map on DWR’s Lake Oroville Recreation webpage. And step inside the Lake Oroville Visitor Center, open Tuesday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., to learn about the State Water Project and history of the area.
DWR’s Oroville Field Division is seeking applicants for the position of Public Information Officer II to perform the professional and technical tasks related to community outreach, media relations, and public affairs activities, focusing on DWR’s activities in the Oroville area and the long-term response to the Oroville Dam spillway incident.
Persons interested in joining one of the top communications teams in California state service can find information and instructions about how to apply on the DWR Careers website (click on the ‘View Jobs’ button and enter ‘Public Information Officer’ into the search tab. Or contact the Hiring Unit Contact at 916-820-7660 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The final filing date is Oct. 4, 2022.
Current Lake Operations
The elevation of Oroville’s reservoir is about 700 feet elevation and storage is about 1.25 million acre-feet (MAF), which is 36 percent of its total capacity and 64 percent of historical average. Temperatures this weekend are forecasted to be in the low-90s with decreasing temperatures ranging in the low-to-mid-80s next week.
The Feather River releases are currently at 2,500 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 1,850 cfs released from the Thermalito Afterbay Outlet (Outlet) for a total of 2,500 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 9/22/2022