Oroville Dam Safety Comprehensive Needs Assessment

An aerial view of Bidwell Bar Bridge at Lake Oroville

The Oroville Dam Safety Comprehensive Needs Assessment (CNA) will identify priorities and appropriate solutions to bolster the integrity and resiliency of the Oroville Dam complex to ensure public safety. The CNA will consider changes to the Dam and its existing appurtenances, additional appurtenant structures, flood control operations, and other dam safety measures. Some solutions might also provide secondary benefits, such as operational redundancy, improving compliance with downstream flow and temperature criteria, seasonal increases in storage, or possible power generation opportunities.

The CNA process is led by DWR, as the owner of Oroville Dam. DWR has created an Independent Review Board (IRB) of dam safety experts who will conduct independent technical reviews of key deliverables and document its review of DWR’s work products. The CNA will also include engagement with an Ad Hoc Group of community stakeholders appointed by Senator Jim Nielsen and Assemblymember Gallagher. The Ad Hoc community group will meet regularly with DWR and the IRB. The Ad Hoc group will provide community perspectives to the IRB and DWR to take into consideration and communicate about the CNA process and findings to the larger community.  
The CNA is expected to be finalized by the end of 2019. The CNA will create a final report with recommendations for future next steps and future projects which will incorporate community feedback whenever possible while keeping dam safety as the top priority. The final report  will be submitted to FERC and DSOD.
The CNA is not meant to investigate the causes of the events during the February of 2017 spillways incident. Likewise, this assessment is not meant to critique operations at the Oroville Dam or place fault or blame to any person or agency involved in the February of 2017 spillways incident. 

Independent Review Board

DWR has convened an Independent Review Board (IRB) to conduct independent technical reviews of key deliverables and document its review of DWR’s work products. The members of the IRB are national experts with diverse technical expertise, experiences and perspectives. Their expertise covers disciplines in geotechnical, hydraulics, structures or hydraulic structures, operations, engineering geology, and environmental resources. Collectively, they have experience with safety and dam design modification of large dams, complex multi-purpose dam safety operations and projects, large government organizations, water policy, environmental science, and stakeholder engagement. 
Specifically, the IRB will review and assess:
  • Proposed alternatives to restore the spillway design capacity 
  • Proposed project flood operations associated with various alternatives 
  • Proposed remedial options for the service spillway headworks 
  • Proposed low-level outlet alternatives
  • Proposed dam embankment reliability and improvements 
  • Proposed dam complex instrumentation and monitoring plans
The IRB will also meet with the community leaders serving on an Ad Hoc Group at key junctures to answer their questions and collect their feedback to revise the CNA when appropriate. 
IRB Members:

Community Ad Hoc Group

Senator Jim Nielsen and Assemblyman James Gallagher appointed a group of community members to represent the community during the CNA. This Ad Hoc Community group’s role is primarily to communicate accurate information and context about elements of the CNA under consideration – and eventually the final document – to the stakeholders and interest groups that they represent. The Ad Hoc Group will also provide informed community and stakeholder perspectives to the IRB as the Oroville Dam CNA is developed which will be taken into consideration when possible. The Ad Hoc Group will receive questions about the CNA from the community and interested parties and communicate relevant questions or concerns to the IRB.
Ad Hoc Community Group Members:
  • Assemblymember James Gallagher (Co-Chair) 
  • Senator Jim Nielsen
  • U.S. Representative Doug La Malfa
  • Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea
  • Butte County Supervisor Bill Connelly
  • Matt Mentink
  • Ron Stork
  • Michael Bessette
  • Larry Grundman
  • Sean Earley
  • Rune Storesund 
  • Sandy Linville


Community members can submit questions and comments that will help the ad-hoc group better advocate on your behalf with the decision makers at DWR. If you wish to submit a question or comment, please email: OrovilleDamAdHoc@gmail.com



Glossary of CNA terms


Submit your questions or comments to the Oroville CNA IRB and Community Ad Hoc Group:

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