California Department of Water Resources officials admitted Wednesday recreational activity on Lake Oroville will be impacted over the Fourth of July weekend. The statement was made during the DWR's monthly progress report on repair work at the spillway.
Late last week, the DWR announced lake levels would be drawn down in order for crews and equipment to have access to the upper chute area of the spillway where additional excavation work is needed.
The lower lake levels mean some boat launch areas will be closed. The DWR maintains this can't be avoided in order to stay on pace to meet the November 1 deadline of having the main spillway ready to go for potential water releases during the rainy season. "We've done everything we can to keep the lake as high possible during the recreation season," said Erin Mellon, a spokeswoman for the DWR. "We were hopeful to be able to have it higher over the holiday weekend, but this is the reality that we live in of a active construction site."
The lake level is currently just over 800 feet, and while it doesn't need to be lowered more for construction purposes, it could go lower due to downstream needs.
While there's a fear, the area could lose tourism dollars with less access to the lake this summer, the DWR says the public's safety is a bigger priority than potential revenue loss.