Lake Oroville Community Update - July 24, 2020


boats on Lake Oroville

Boats on Lake Oroville. DWR/2019

Oroville Recreation Update

Lake Oroville and the North and South Forebay boat ramps, parking lots, and day use areas are open. Except for the Oroville Dam Spillway Boat Ramp area, which is open 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, Lake Oroville State Recreation Area (LOSRA) boat ramps are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Trails and day use areas are open from 8 a.m. to sunset. Floating campsites and group campsites are not currently available to reduce the spread of COVID-19. For information about State Parks camping, as well as COVID-19 public health requirements while recreating, visit


The Oroville Wildlife Area (OWA), including the Thermalito Afterbay, is open 1.5 hours before sunrise to one hour after sunset and offers miles of trails and wildlife viewing. The Forebay Aquatic Center at the North Forebay Recreation Area is open Friday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. for boat, kayak, and other aquatic equipment rentals. Information and an interactive map of Lake Oroville and OWA recreation facilities is available on the Department of Water Resources (DWR) Lake Oroville Recreation webpage. The Lake Oroville Visitors Center remains closed due to COVID-19.


DWR Undertakes Trail Clean-up Effort

Working with the Feather River Nature Center and the City of Oroville, DWR continues efforts to address the issue of trash and debris along Old Ferry Road and the Sewim Bo Trail near the Thermalito Diversion Dam. DWR has funded contracts with crews to remove trash, clean up graffiti, clear out invasive vegetation, and perform trail maintenance. Trail users and visitors are advised to be aware of work crews and are encouraged to “pack out” what they bring in.


New Trail Signage Informs Area Visitors

DWR and CA Parks staff have installed new trail signposts and new trail marker icons in numerous locations around Lake Oroville and the Thermalito Diversion Pool to help area visitors identify the activity (hiking, biking and/or horseback riding) allowed on the trails. New signposts also provide directions to newly realigned trails with more sign and icon installations planned for other areas including the Oroville Wildlife Area.


The Oroville Facility Trail system features 91 miles of trails, with access to Lake Oroville, Thermalito Diversion Pool, Thermalito Afterbay, and Thermalito Forebay. The trails consist of an array of single track, fire roads, and paved trails which border beautiful natural areas, provide stunning views, and allow plentiful opportunities for wildlife viewing. Trail users can seasonally view salmon, grebes, loons, waterfowl, bald eagles, turkey vultures, snakes, frogs, and more throughout the trail network. Find area trails on the Lake Oroville Recreation webpage’s interactive map.


Oroville Area Algal Blooms Status

DWR environmental scientists regularly monitor Lake Oroville, the Thermalito North Forebay, and the Thermalito Afterbay for cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) and their toxins. There are currently no Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) advisories for Lake Oroville, the Thermalito Forebay, or the Thermalito Afterbay.


Algal blooms continue to be present in the West Branch and the North Fork of Lake Oroville. Lab analysis of water samples from these water bodies continues to find minimal or no amounts of cyanobacteria in the algae. Sampling continues weekly and if elevated levels of cyanobacteria or toxins are found, DWR 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. Non-toxic algal blooms can be irritating or even dangerous to pets and small children. To learn more about HABs, 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.


CAL FIRE Forebay Control Burns Postponed

The CAL FIRE/Butte County Fire Department has postponed a scheduled a series of four control burns of about 245 acres of grassland at different locations around the North and South Forebay due to increased Northern California fire activity and the number of Butte Unit resources assisting those fires. This important vegetation management project (VMP) will take place when weather and Butte Unit staffing permits. The project is planned in cooperation with DWR and CA Parks to clear the area around the Forebays of thick grass, which reduces fire risk and benefits vernal pool habitat.


DWR Water Education Program Educates Youth Online This Summer

Missing Summer Camp? Join DWR’s virtual Summer Camp. DWR Staff will be providing fun activities relating to DWR’s recent Water Wednesday’s videos. The 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. Each video is available on DWR’s YouTube channel and a listing of all the program’s episodes can be found by clicking the Playlists tab. Activity suggestions and information can be found in the video’s comment section as they are added each week.


Current Lake Operations

The elevation of Oroville’s reservoir is about 776 feet and storage is about 1.9 million acre-feet. Daily average inflows to the lake have ranged between 1,577 cfs (cubic feet per second) to 2,313 over the past week.

Dry conditions and warm temperatures continue this weekend and into the week of July 27. The Northern Sierra Basin rainfall totals remains below average for the year, at 63 percent of normal.

The total releases to Feather River are 2,700 cfs to meet downstream Bay-Delta water quality and flow standards. Flows through the City of Oroville are 950 cfs. Flows from the Thermalito Afterbay Outlet (Outlet) are about 1,750 cfs for a total of 2,700 cfs for the Feather River’s high flow channel downstream of the Outlet.


All data as of midnight 7/23/2020