Lake Oroville

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Lake Oroville
Lake Oroville.jpg
View looking South over main basin area of Lake Oroville, towards Oroville Dam, seen at center left.
Location Oroville East, Butte County, California
Coordinates 39°32′14″N 121°29′00″W / 39.53722°N 121.48333°W / 39.53722; -121.48333Coordinates: 39°32′14″N 121°29′00″W / 39.53722°N 121.48333°W / 39.53722; -121.48333[1] at Oroville Dam
Lake type Reservoir
Primary inflows North Fork Feather River, Middle Fork Feather River, West Branch Feather River, South Fork Feather River, various other smaller streams
Primary outflows Feather River
Catchment area 3,950 square miles (10,200 km2)
Basin countries United States
Built 1961 (Construction started on Oroville Dam)
First flooded 1969
Water volume 3,537,577 acre feet (4.363537×109 m3)
Shore length1 167 miles (269 km)
Surface elevation 901 feet (275 m)[2]
Frozen Never
Islands Bloomer Island, Foreman Island, others unnamed
Settlements Oroville
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.

Lake Oroville,[1] is a reservoir formed by the Oroville Dam impounding the Feather River, located in Butte County, northern California. The lake is situated 5 miles (8.0 km) northeast of the city of Oroville, within the Lake Oroville State Recreation Area, in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada.

At over 3,500,000 acre feet (4.3 km3), it is the second-largest reservoir in California, after Shasta Lake. The lake is fed by the North Fork, Middle Fork, West Branch and South Forks of the Feather River.[3]:4

The lake has an unmarked 9,000 ft (2,700 m) diameter landing area for seaplanes. The lake is a popular nationally renowned bass fishing location,[4] while coho salmon are stocked from the Feather River Fish Hatchery.[5]


Prior to impoundment by the Oroville Dam, the current main basin of Lake Oroville was the location of the confluence of the North Fork Feather River with the Feather River (39°33′20″N 121°28′0″W / 39.55556°N 121.46667°W / 39.55556; -121.46667) and the now-inundated towns of Bidwell (39°33′25″N 121°27′56″W / 39.55694°N 121.46556°W / 39.55694; -121.46556) and Land (39°33′13″N 121°28′04″W / 39.55361°N 121.46778°W / 39.55361; -121.46778). Completed in 1968, Oroville Dam is an earthen dam and is the tallest dam located in the United States, measuring over 770 feet (235 m) high and 6,920 feet (2109 m) across. The dam was the largest earth-fill dam in the world until succeeded by Aswan High Dam in Egypt. It was built by the California Department of Water Resources as part of the California State Water Project. The dam houses the Edward Hyatt Powerplant, an underground hydro-electric plant that was completed in 1967.[6] Six generators are used to provide a maximum generating capacity of 819 MW.

Lake Oroville

Downriver facilities[edit]

The Hyatt Generating-Pumping Plant source water for the Feather River is released from two discharge tunnels[7] at up to 17,500 cu ft/s (500 m3/s) during peak demand and "little or no release the remainder of the day".[8] The power plant also routinely draws up to 5,610 cu ft/s (159 m3/s)[7] of Feather River water for "pumpback" into Lake Oroville.[9] Hyatt releases are stored in the 4.40 mi (7.08 km) serpentine river channel (Thermalito Diversion Pool) which extends from the river's source to the Thermalito Diversion Dam.[10]

For hydroelectric generation using the water from the Thermalito Diversion Pool, see Oroville-Thermalito Complex.

External links[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Lake Oroville". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. 1981-01-19. Retrieved 2010-10-25. 
  2. ^ USGS Topo Maps for United States (Map). Cartography by United States Geological Survey. ACME Mapper. Retrieved 2010-10-25. 
  3. ^ "Draft Environmental Impact Report". May 2007. 
    3. "Description of Existing Facilities and Operations,the Proposed Project, and Alternatives". p. 3.2–17. Retrieved 2010-09-20.  |chapter= ignored (help)
    4. "end of Chapter 4, Environmental Setting" (PDF). Draft Environmental Impact Report. Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  4. ^ "Beautiful Lake Oroville Camping". Oroville Area Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved 2010-09-17.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  5. ^ "Fishing at Lake Oroville". Retrieved 2010-09-19. 
  6. ^ About the Lake - Hyatt Powerplant Statistics
  7. ^ a b "Description of Existing Facilities and Operations,the Proposed Project, and Alternatives". Draft Environmental Impact Report. May 2007. p. 3.2-1. Retrieved 2010-09-20.  |chapter= ignored (help)
  8. ^ "Appendix J Feather River Water Temperature Model" (pdf). Biological Assessment on the Continued Long-term Operations of the Central Valley Project and the State Water Project. Bureau of Reclamation, Mid-Pacific Region. August 2008. p. J-1. Retrieved 2010-09-18. 
  9. ^ "Section 2: Proposed Action and Alternatives". Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Oroville Facilities Project. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. p. 17. Retrieved 2010-09-15.  NOTE: Pumpback returns Feather River water back to Lake Oroville during off-peak periods when California Edison Company (SCE) external power is inexpensive, allowing subsequent hydroelectric generation (6-7% of Hyatt total) during peak (higher price) periods.
  10. ^ "Oroville Dam". Wikimapia. Retrieved 2010-09-18.  NOTE: The Wikimapia path line from the spillway's confluence with the Feather River/Thermalito Diversion Pool to the Thermalito Diversion Dam defines 12 line segments of the river channel.