No plans to use Lake Oroville's main spillway this summer

Next Saturday the top of Oroville Dam will be accessible to pedestrians, bicyclists and those with disabilities via Dam Crest Road. Read for the latest on Oroville Dam operations and security measures.

Posted: Jun 23, 2019 9:58 AM
Updated: Jun 25, 2019 11:33 AM

OROVILLE, Calif. - The Department of Water Resources (DWR) says it is unlikely that they will be using the rebuilt spillway at Oroville Dam this season. They said if they end up having to use the main spillway they will notify the public and media first. 

Currently, they are only releasing water from the Hyatt Power Plant at 4,009 cubic feet per second (cfs).

DWR officials said the Feather River snowpack that feeds the lake has mostly melted and that is why they are not as concerned about increasing lake levels. Currently, the water in Lake Oroville is approximately five feet from the top.

Officials from DWR say the full reservoir is a welcome sight after years of drought and low lake levels to accommodate reconstruction of the spillways.

As a historical note, DWR says it is common for the reservoir to stay relatively full during the summer during an above average water year. For example, in 2010-11, another very wet year, the reservoir sat at a height of just below 900 feet for the entire month of July.

DWR Reopening Public Access to the Top of Oroville Dam

Public access to the top of dam on Dam Crest Road will be allowed again next Saturday, June 29. Pedestrians, bicyclists and people with disabilities will have access to the pedestrian lane on the lakeside of Dam Crest Road from 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., as well as parking at the Upper Overlook.

The public will not be allowed to drive across the top of the dam for safety reasons.

Saturday morning staff from the DWR will be on Dam Crest Road providing information to the public and will be available to answer questions from the public about their operations.

There are new security measures in place at Oroville Dam. DWR has contracted with the Butte County Sheriff's Office for increased patrols and is working with the California Highway Patrol and California State Parks as well. DWR officials said construction activity is going on in the area and explained that construction vehicles will be using a portion of Dam Crest Road.

Spillway Boat Launch Reopening

Access to the Spillway Boat Launch ramp is anticipated to partially reopen in early August.

Update of Lake Oroville Algae Bloom

The Caution Advisory for an algae bloom in the Thermalito Afterbay has been lifted as microcystin levels have decreased.

A Caution Advisory remains in effect for algae found in upper reaches of Lake Oroville's Middle Fork. Visitors are advised to avoid algae or scum n the water which can be hazardous to pets and people, especially children.

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