The summer on Lake Oroville has been a tough one for business owners on the lake, who say that the Oroville Dam spillway incident has scared away visitors the past year. Now, the lake is taking another hit with severely low water levels.
As of September 4, the water level on the lake sits at 738 feet. If the water drops another 30 feet, marinas like Lime Saddle Marina will have to shut down their boat ramps.
“We lose our ramp at about 707 feet elevation, it’s unfortunate. It would be nice if we could get a ramp extension, but I know it’s tough with our terrain,” Lime Saddle Marina Operations Manager Joseph Velasquez said to Action News Now. “The water level, it really is a bummer that it is as low as it is.”
Velasquez is just one of many people who run businesses on the lake that are having a tough time the past year and a half. In February 2017, the Oroville Dam overflowed, causing the collapse of its spillway and subsequent flooding of the area, which caused 180,000 residents to evacuate.
The incident garnered worldwide attention and became an easy excuse to avoid the lake. Since the incident and repair to the spillway, officials have been nervous to allow too much water to remain in the lake. The last flooding cost over $1 billion in damage and destroyed local wildlife habitats.
The below photo was captured by Bill Husa of the Mercury News on January 11, showing an arm of Lake Oroville looking toward Bidwell Canyon Marina from the Saddle Dam:
Now, the fear of another catastrophic accident in the face of an ever-changing climate has forced to officials to be prudent with water levels. For business owners and outdoor enthusiasts, this has meant a sub-par year on the lake.
In positive news, day use and boat launching fees are being waived Thursday and Friday at the Lake Oroville State Recreation Area.