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Water Level Up, Recreation Booming at Lake Oroville

This weekend saw a great turnout at Lake Oroville, with temperatures in the 80s and the Lake at close to 100 feet from capacity.

Posted: Apr. 2, 2018 7:58 AM
Updated: Apr. 2, 2018 10:37 AM

Oroville Calif.-- Some good news for boaters, fisherman and the general economy of the Oroville area: in the last 2 weeks, water at Lake Oroville has come up about 60 feet.

According to the Department of Water Resources, they base lake level allowance on a interim operations plans.

Based on the Winter outlook, the lake was allowed as high as 800 feet in March and 830 feet in April.

If it looks like it might get close to the maximum, they'd increase output at the Hyatt turbines.

Erin Mellin, DWR spokesperson, says they'll come up with a new maintenance plan for May into the Summer based on Monday's snow survey and there is a lot of snow from March that hasn't been measured.

That survey will help the DWR set the maximum levels for May and June and the federal government has to approve.

They do want to make sure the lake stays at a level that can be safely maintained with just hyatt releases because they're aiming to open the main part of the spillway to begin phase 2 construction in the early part of May - that means demolishing the uppermost portion of the spillway and adding structural concrete walls.

So, while safety is the DWR's explanation behind keeping the lake low, the recreational function of Lake Oroville is so important to the culture and the economy of the region, bringing in visitors from across the state to spend money on gas, food and lodging in Oroville and surrounding areas.

The marina manager Bill Harper says as long as the lake stay above the mid 700 foot range, that should be high enough to make for a good Summer boating season.

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