February 19, 2021
Oroville Dam Citizens Advisory Commission Public Meeting
The California Natural Resources Agency held its sixth Oroville Dam Citizens Advisory Commission meeting on Feb. 19. The online public meeting included presentations on fire modernization at the Hyatt Power Plant, winter operations, and a presentation from the Yuba Water Agency on downstream flood management. Members of the public also asked questions and gained information on these and other topics. The Citizens Advisory Commission is a forum for the community to provide feedback and ask questions. The meeting transcript and presentations will be available on the Commission’s website (https://bit.ly/OrovilleCAC) in the coming weeks.
Lake Oroville Boat Ramps
The Lime Saddle Boat Ramp is now open for use along with Bidwell Canyon and Spillway boat ramps. Bidwell Canyon and Lime Saddle boat ramps are open 24-hours per day and the Spillway boat ramps are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. The Lake Oroville Marina at Lime Saddle is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and the Bidwell Canyon Marina is open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. The Loafer Creek boat ramps remain out of the water.
Feather River Fish Planting
Millions of fish are raised every year at the Feather River Fish Hatchery, including Chinook fall and spring run salmon, and salmon’s cousin, steelhead trout – another type of anadromous fish that migrates from their river birthplace to the ocean and back to their native river to spawn. Over the last two weeks, hatchery staff transported and released over 430,000 of the steelhead trout raised last year into the Feather River below Yuba City. Releasing the young fish further downstream improves their chances of survival by shortening their migration route to avoid predators. An additional 10,000 steelhead were also released into the Thermalito Afterbay to support that popular recreational fishery.
The Feather River Fish Hatchery is a California State Water Project facility built in the late 1960s to mitigate impacts on fish migration resulting from the construction of Oroville Dam which blocked access to spawning grounds further upstream. DWR maintains the facility and funds the hatchery operations, fish spawning, rearing, and stocking activities provided by California Department of Fish and Wildlife staff. Photos of the steelhead trout release are available on the Department of Water Resources (DWR) Pixel webpage – search ‘fish release’.
Photo: Dept. Fish and Wildlife release steelhead trout into the Feather River at Boyd's Boat Launch
The Lake Oroville State Recreation Area (LOSRA) campgrounds at Bidwell Canyon, Loafer Creek – including the Equestrian Campground, and the Lime Saddle Campground are open. Group camping, including floating campgrounds, and boat-in campgrounds remain closed. Reservation capability does not open until April and camping sites will be allocated on a ‘first come-first serve’ basis.
The Potters Ravine and North Fork trails are open for use. CA Parks encourages users to remain on the trails. Assessments by CA Parks staff of trail safety will continue through the winter. All day use facilities at Lake Oroville State Recreation Area (LOSRA) are open. The Lake Oroville Visitors Center remains closed.
Visit the California Parks LOSRA webpage for current information on facility status as well as current requirements to protect public health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Information about recreation facilities can be found in DWR’s interactive map on the Lake Oroville Recreation webpage. For information about the Oroville Wildlife Area, including the Thermalito Afterbay, visit the California Department of Fish and Wildlife webpage.
Photo: Camping at the Lake Oroville State Recreation Area
Thermalito Powerplant Update
The Department of Water Resources (DWR) Thermalito Powerplant (THPP), formally named the Ronald B. Robie Thermalito Pumping-Generating Powerplant, has returned to full service after losing operational capacity when it was damaged by fire in November 2012. The powerplant has been re-constructed with modern fire and life safety features, and the plant’s electrical protection, control, and communications systems have been fully replaced. The thousands of connections in the plant’s new systems underwent the strict and rigorous ‘interconnection’ requirements of Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) to safely re-connect the powerplant to the state’s electrical grid.
The THPP is one of three hydroelectric powerplants in the Oroville-Thermalito Complex, capable of generating 118 megawatts – enough to power roughly 100,000 households and adding value to the approximately 714 megawatts produced by Oroville Dam’s Edward Hyatt Powerplant. Along with the Thermalito Diversion Dam Powerplant, the Oroville-Thermalito Complex is California’s State Water Project’s leading producer of clean hydro-electric power.
Photo: Power generation turbines at restored RBR Thermalito Pumping-Generating Powerplant
Wildfire Impacts on Water Quality
The multi-agency “Watershed Working Group”, led by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES), continues targeted monitoring of rivers, lakes, and other surface waters in the North Complex burn area and downstream. The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (Water Board), the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), and the Department of Water Resources (DWR) collect and test water samples for analysis. The Water Board’s recent news release states elevated results found are not impacting drinking water treatment facilities nor the quality of drinking water.
Water testing will continue and the Watershed Working Group will report results in the weeks ahead. The Water Board will alert the public if results show water quality may be impacted.
Photo: DWR water quality experts collect water samples on the Feather River's Middle Fork
Current Lake Operations
The elevation of Oroville’s reservoir is about 708 feet elevation and storage is about 1.31 million acre-feet, 55 percent of historical average. Currently, in the Northern Sierra Basin, rainfall is below average, at 53 percent of normal for this time of year and snowpack is also below average at 67 percent of normal. Chance of light rain and snow showers in the higher elevations is forecasted this Saturday. Next week, beginning Feb. 22, expect dry conditions with a slight chance of rain towards the end of the week.
The total releases to the Feather River continues to be at 1,250 cfs to conserve storage in Lake Oroville. The Feather River flows consist of 800 cfs down the Low Flow Channel through the City of Oroville, and 450 cfs from the Thermalito Afterbay Outlet (Outlet) for a total of 1,250 cfs for the Feather River’s high flow channel downstream of the Outlet.
The public can track precipitation, snow, reservoir levels, and more at the California Data Exchange Center at www.cdec.water.ca.gov. Lake Oroville is identified as “ORO”.
All data as of midnight 2/18/2021
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September 4, 2020
Oroville Recreation Update
Oroville area recreation facilities are expected to be popular destinations for the Labor Day holiday. With the exception of the Potters Ravine trail complex near the Oroville Dam Spillway Boat Ramp area (damaged in last month’s Potters Fire), all Lake Oroville State Recreation Area (LOSRA) boat ramps, parking lots, and day use areas are open, including North and South Forebay facilities. The Oroville Dam Spillway Boat Ramp and day use area is open for use 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
The Potters Ravine and North Fork trail complex experienced significant damage from the Potters Fire and will be closed through the winter for rehabilitation work. The recent Potters Fire burned over 900 acres, including areas adjacent to Oroville Dam’s main and emergency spillways, the Spillway Boat Ramp area, and the Thermalito Diversion Pool.
California State Parks (CA Parks) has completed repairs to fire-damaged areas on the Thermalito Diversion Pool’s Brad Freeman Trail between Burma Road and the Spillway Boat Ramp trailhead. Bikers and hikers are now able to enjoy this challenging trail with its spectacular views of the valley. The Dan Beebe and Lakeland trails on the south side of the Diversion Pool are also open for use and the Diversion Pool’s car-top boat launch is open for non-motorized boating. Information about and current status of Lake Oroville recreation facilities is available on the Department of Water Resources (DWR) Lake Oroville Recreation webpage and on the LOSRA webpage.
The Lake Oroville Visitors Center remains closed and boat-in, floating, and group campsites are not currently available to reduce the spread of COVID-19. For information about available State Parks camping, as well as COVID-19 public health requirements while recreating, visit www.parks.ca.gov/COVID19Camping.
Diversion Pool Trails and Area Roadways to Close for Utility Work
Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) crews are scheduled to remove three conductors from the Caribou-Palermo 115KV transmission line that crosses the Thermalito Diversion Pool Sept. 8 through Sept. 16. Boating activity on the Diversion Pool will be restricted by in-water control boats on Sept. 9. Visitors and area residents will also see helicopter activity in the area during conductor removal.
Portions of the Brad Freeman Trail north and south of the Thermalito Diversion Pool, and the Dan Beebe Trail, and areas around the trailhead on Lakeland Boulevard on the south side of the Diversion Pool will also close for various periods Sept. 10 to Sept. 16. Traffic on Lakeland Boulevard west of Reyman Street will experience temporary delays when work is occurring on the conductors crossing the road. Signage regarding upcoming work will be posted on area trails in advance of closures. Visitors are reminded to be safe and obey access restrictions.
Bidwell Canyon Boat Ramp Work to Resume in September
The Bidwell Canyon Boat Ramp Stage Two Improvement Project’s contractor started mobilizing on Sept. 1 and will begin work in the next couple of weeks depending on Lake Oroville elevation. Work will not occur over the Labor Day weekend. As lake levels decrease, construction will continue on a project that started in Fall 2018 to expand the Stage Two parking area and provide two additional Stage Two boat ramp lanes to 700 feet. Construction was halted in February 2019 due to rising lake levels.
Kelly Ridge and Arroyo Drive residents can expect to see large construction equipment, as well as rock and concrete deliveries, in the area beginning early September from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays as the contractor works to complete the project by mid-November. Last year, the Stage Two project constructed a new lower-level, concrete parking lot, expanded Bidwell Canyon’s mid-level boat launch from three to five lanes, and added two boarding float lanes. Construction also improved the vertical curve at the top of the boat ramp to accommodate larger trailers.
Oroville Area Algal Blooms Status
DWR’s Oroville Field Division has concluded recreational swim beach cyanotoxin monitoring this week. Monitoring for cyanotoxins at the Thermalito Forebay and Afterbay occurs weekly from Memorial Day to Labor Day. DWR’s Environmental Scientists will continue to assess any reported algal blooms as visitors continue to enjoy these recreation areas.
At Lake Oroville, harmful algal blooms (HAB’s) continue to be present in many locations and DWR’s Environmental Scientists will continue to monitor these blooms until they dissipate. If elevated levels of cyanotoxins are found, staff will work with California’s Regional Water Quality Control Board and recreation area managers to notify the public and post advisory signs at the affected waterbody. At this time there are no advisories in place.
How can you keep yourself, your family, and your pets safe from HAB’s? Visit the Water Board’s website and DWR’s digital article on the DWR Updates webpage. The public is encouraged to report algal blooms on the HAB reporting webpage.
Learn All About Salmon
Join us for Water Wednesdays at 1 p.m. on DWR’s YouTube channel and learn all about salmon over the next few weeks. These family-friendly programs are designed for kids 10 to 14 but are appropriate for anyone who would like to learn more about California’s water resources. The fall season began Aug. 26 with a five-part look at the lifecycle of the Chinook salmon that spawn in the Feather River, travel downriver, through the Delta, and finally to the ocean. Interested participants can pre-register through Zoom which will allow them to ask real time questions of the speaker.
Visit the DWR Events webpage at https://water.ca.gov/News/Events to join or register for next Wednesday’s chat. Information will also be posted on DWR’s social media pages at @CA_DWR (Twitter) and @CADWR (Facebook). Water Wednesdays began in May 2020 and previous episodes are available on DWR’s YouTube channel – enter Water Wednesdays in the search bar.
Current Lake Operations
The elevation of Oroville’s reservoir is about 751 feet and storage is about 1.68 million acre-feet. Daily average inflows to the lake have ranged between 1,354 cfs (cubic feet per second) to 2,442 over the past week. High temperatures will continue into the week of September 7. The Northern Sierra Basin rainfall totals remains below average for the year, at 63 percent of normal.
The total releases to Feather River are 2,100 cfs to meet downstream Bay-Delta water quality and flow standards. Flows through the City of Oroville are about 950 cfs. Currently, flows from the Thermalito Afterbay Outlet (Outlet) are about 1,150 cfs for a total of 2,100 cfs for the Feather River’s high flow channel downstream of the Outlet. Generating additional hydroelectric power to address increased energy demands due to the heat wave may result in increased river flows over the Labor Day weekend.
During the week of September 7, total flows to the Feather River will be reduced from 2,100 cfs to 1,950 cfs to conserve storage. After this decrease, flows through the City of Oroville will be 800 cfs and 1,150 cfs will be from the Outlet for a total of 1,950 cfs to the Feather River below the Outlet.
All data as of midnight 9/3/2020
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The following is an update from California State Parks.
UPDATE (May 15, 2020) - As California State Parks begins its phased reopening of parks and beaches in compliance with state and local public health ordinances, it is important for visitors to continue to practice physical distancing and avoid congregating with people outside their immediate household. Everyone has the responsibility to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Here are some guidelines for people visiting Lake Oroville SRA.
What is open now?
Lake Oroville State Recreation Area is now open for day-use vehicular access which includes parking lots, boat launches and trails.
Bidwell Canyon and Lake Oroville Marinas are preparing to reopen on Monday, May 18. Until then, vessel fueling, pump-out, and shuttle services will not be available. Due to ongoing concerns for the spread of COVID-19, some services will continue to be restricted or suspended for an undetermined time. Please contact the appropriate Marina for the most current information and please plan your visit accordingly.
Bidwell Canyon Marina (530) 589-9175 www.bidwellcanyonmarina.com
Lake Oroville Marina (530) 877-2883 www.lakeorovillemarina.com
What is currently closed at this park and throughout the State Park System?
Are there any new visitor guidelines?
Yes, please see below:
Thank you for your patience and continued support of California State Parks as we work to limit your risk for exposure to COVID-19 in the outdoors. For more information, please visit parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve.
The Lake Oroville Visitor Center is one of the most fascinating points of interest in Oroville. They hold several events throughout the year, have a museum, have access to trails, and do many more things.
The Brad Freeman/Dan Beebe Trail offers a 44.5 mile loop perfect for scenic hiking and biking. Over the weekend Chamber CEO/President, Eric Smith; Communications Coordinator, Amber Marron; and their families walked a small couple mile portion of the trail up to the old train tunnel.
We started off near the Feather River Bath House off of the roundabout on Montgomery Street. The weather was perfect as well as the view of the Feather River Fish Hatchery and the Diversion Pool. Hummingbirds were also in the air and could be seen in the trees along the pathway.
Our hike ended at the old train tunnel that was used to bring in supplies to build the Oroville Dam. Once through the train tunnel the path continues along the beautiful Feather River. You can see a full map of trails from the Department of Water Resources by Clicking Here.
If you have any questions about recreation in Oroville, you can contact the Oroville Area Chamber of Commerce at (530) 538-2542 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Snow Goose Festival is in full swing in Butte County. This is the perfect event for birders to watch the migration of not only snow geese, but a plethora of other birds as well.
There is still time to get a tour for January 25 or 26. Just Click Here.
If you don't want to be part of a tour, you can bird watch on your own. Locally there will be birds on Lake Oroville and at the Oroville Wildlife Area. So, pack a lunch and bring a pair of binoculars!
The Forebay Aquatic Center is open for the summer season! This venue is the perfect place for anyone looking to be outdoors and in the water this summer.
For kids there are summer camps, field trips for schools, and equipment rental with all the safety measures to keep everyone safe in the water.
There are plenty of equipment rentals whether you are going by yourself or with a group. The choices are single kayak, sit-in kayak, tandem kayak, stand-up paddle board, pedal boat, hydrobike, and canoe. Rentals can be done per-hour up to entire season passes.
The Forebay Aquatic Center hosts a variety of events throughout their season, but are especially known for their Moonlight Paddles. Starting at sundown, the Forebay's staff offers a guided tour into the sunset and a paddle back to the shore under the moonlight.
Outside of water activities the Forebay is surrounded by a large picnic area which is perfect for birthday parties, family gatherings, and corporate parties. A portion of the Brad Freeman Trail also wraps around the Forebay that is perfect for a morning hike.
The Forebay is a California State Parks facility, so an $8 parking fee does apply. If you have any questions about recreation in the Oroville area, please contact the Oroville Area Chamber of Commerce at (530) 538-2542.
The weather is perfect to take the family to a variety of camping spots Oroville has to offer. The breathtaking scenery around Oroville offers plenty of nature to explore on the land and in the water.
The Lake Oroville State Recreation Area offers a variety of camping amenities at the Bidwell Canyon Campground, Lime Saddle Campground, and Loafer Creek Campground. These include picnicking, horseback riding, hiking, sail and power boating, water-skiing, fishing, swimming, boat-in camping, floating campsites and horse camping. A special note should be made that currently in the Spring of 2019 Bidwell Canyon Campground has several FEMA sites to help house families that were affected by the 2018 Camp Fire that has affected camping availability.
To reserve a campsite at the Lake Oroville State Recreation Area, head to Reserve California, or reach out to the individual campgrounds:
Bidwell Canyon Campground
Lime Saddle Campground
Loafer Creek Campground
For those who enjoy the great outdoors from the comfort of their RVs there are several places in Oroville that offer fantastic views and amazing customer service.
River Reflections offers a beautiful view of the Feather River. Call (530) 533-1995 or Visit the Website.
Riffles RV Park & Campground also offers amazing views of the Feather River and fishing. Call (530) 534-9956 or Visit the Website.
Lake Oroville Gold Country RV Community sits near Lake Oroville and has a pool, showers, and laundry machines. Call (530) 534-1133 or Visit the Website.
Feather Falls Casino gives you the complete KOA experience nestled in the foothills of Oroville. Call (530) 533-9020 or Visit the Website.
River One RV Park has boating and water sports near its location on the Feather River. Call (530) 533-8679 or Visit the Website.
Berry Creek Rancheria RV Park gives you easy access to the entertainment Gold Country Casino Resort Provides. Call (866) 991-5061 or Visit the Website.
If you want more information, always feel free to contact the Oroville Chamber at (530) 538-2542 or email at email@example.com.
May 2, 2019Oroville Operations and Main Spillway UpdateLake Level
The current Oroville reservoir elevation is 884 feet. Total releases into the Feather River continue at 10,500 cubic feet per second (cfs). DWR is safely managing Oroville reservoir inflows from melting snowpack and plans to keep lake levels high through spring and summer. DWR is operating the reservoir in accordance with normal state and federal regulations. A full lake is a welcome sight after years of drought and low levels to accommodate reconstruction. Good news as we head into the summer months for all those who love to recreate on the lake!
Thermalito Diversion Pool and Brad Freeman Trail Reopening
The Thermalito Diversion Pool and Brad Freeman Trail will reopen to the public on Friday, May 3. Kayakers, mountain bikers and hikers can access both areas seven days a week from 8 a.m. to sunset. Kayaks, non-motorized boats (electric motors allowed) and non-trailered boats can access the day use area located along Burma Road and bikers and hikers can take advantage of the two-mile section of the Brad Freeman Trail along the northern shore of the Diversion Pool.
Releases from the Hyatt Powerplant are adequate to meet operational requirements of the reservoir and there is no need to use the main spillway at this time. However, DWR may need to use the main spillway again this spring to manage inflows from snowmelt and will notify the public and media if this is necessary.
The Oroville main spillway is fully reconstructed and performed as designed when it was used in early April. DWR and expert consultants continue to monitor the main spillway, so workers may be visible on the spillway structure. When it is not in use, water on the spillway is from normal seepage through the spillway gates, which were not designed to be watertight.
Repaving operations continue on Oroville Dam Crest Road, the Spillway Boat Launch facility, and other nearby roads. Paving construction vehicles will continue to use Hyatt Access Road through May 29. Motorists and residents should anticipate additional construction traffic on Canyon Drive and on Oro Dam Blvd. East to the Hyatt Access Road Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. DWR apologizes for any inconvenience and will notify the public when there are any changes to this information. Thank you for your continued patience.
For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit:https://water.ca.gov/Programs/State-Water-Project/SWP-Facilities/Oroville/Oroville-Spillways
April 26, 2019Oroville Operations and Main Spillway UpdateCORRECTION: In our earlier notification, we stated that repaving operations on area roadways will be underway Monday to Friday through May 29. Paving will also take place this Sunday April 29 and on Saturdays through the end of May.
Oroville’s current reservoir elevation is 877 feet, an increase of 10 feet from last week. Total releases to the Feather River have also increased slightly to 10,500 cubic feet per second (cfs). Oroville’s operations plan is designed to safely accommodate inflows from the above average snowpack, and DWR is aiming to keep lake levels high through spring and summer. Currently, releases from the Hyatt Powerplant are adequate to meet operational requirements of the reservoir and there is no need to use the main spillway at this time. However, we may need to use the main spillway again this year to manage inflows from increased snow melt. DWR will notify the public and media of any planned use of the main spillway.
The main spillway performed as designed when it was used April 2 through April 10, with releases topping out at 25,000 cfs. DWR engineers will continue to perform a thorough inspection of the main spillway to further evaluate its performance and will continue to be visible on the spillway structure. Water currently seen on the spillway results from normal seepage through the spillway radial gates, which are not designed to be watertight. Sandbags are used to direct the flow of water to one side of the spillway or the other to allow for safe access by DWR engineers.
DWR contractors have begun repaving operations on the Oroville Dam Crest Road, the Spillway Boat Launch facility and other area roadways. Paving construction vehicles will continue to use Hyatt Access Road through May 29. Motorists and residents should anticipate additional construction traffic on Canyon Drive and on Oro Dam Blvd. East to the Hyatt Access Road Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. We apologize for any inconvenience and will notify you if there are any changes. Thank you for your continued patience.
For more information, follow us on Twitter or Facebook and read our news releases and DWR updates.