OROVILLE — Two years in the past at this time, about 188,000 individuals have been ordered to evacuate for concern the broken Oroville Dam spillway would fail.

Whereas the worst fears by no means materialized, the incident had impacts nonetheless felt in the neighborhood. It additionally spawned new laws associated to dam security, a contemporary rebuild of the spillway, and plenty of lawsuits towards the state Division of Water Sources.

That is on no account a complete abstract, however under are some main updates associated to the spillway disaster.

Reconstruction continues

Each the primary and emergency spillways are nonetheless beneath reconstruction.

DWR mentioned the primary spillway was prepared for use once more by its Nov. 1, 2018, deadline. Nonetheless, some minor work there’s nonetheless ongoing, together with website clean-up and sidewall backfill. Contractors are additionally working to deliver the hillside again to its pure state by grading and hydroseeding. That work shall be ongoing “effectively into spring 2019,” in keeping with DWR.

Work on the emergency spillway continues as effectively. Presently building crews are inserting a concrete cap on high of a brand new buttress manufactured from roller-compacted concrete.

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Recreation advocacy

The Feather River Recreation Alliance, led by Oroville residents, continues to satisfy and advocate for these impacted by the dam disaster and aftermath. One main effort the alliance is targeted on now’s gathering signatures for a petition to current to the Federal Vitality Regulatory Fee, with a request for an “unbiased, complete evaluation of the dam and truthful remedy for the downstream communities.” The alliance’s purpose is to get 8,000 signatures.

Security group

The dam security group led by Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Yuba Metropolis, and John Yarbrough of DWR met Jan. 10 for the third time with different neighborhood leaders, DWR representatives and the Unbiased Evaluate Board. The group is analyzing the great wants evaluation for Oroville Dam which is being ready and is anticipated to be completed in 2020.

Lengthy-term adjustments to the dam’s operations and infrastructure, together with prospects just like the addition of a second gated spillway, are being thought-about within the evaluation, DWR has mentioned beforehand.


A trial date of June 1, 2020 has been set for lots of the lawsuits towards DWR over the Oroville Dam disaster. Plaintiffs embrace town of Oroville, Butte County, PG&E and several other proposed courses, amongst others. Extra info may be discovered on the Sacramento County Superior Court docket web site. The case quantity is JCCP 4974.

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DWR has filed a petition to add to the coordinated continuing the Butte County District Legal professional’s lawsuit towards the division over environmental damages from the dam disaster. This seems to be the one go well with pending towards DWR over the incident that’s not a part of the continuing already. For court docket paperwork, seek for case quantity 18CV00415 on the Butte County Superior Court docket web site.


A smooth opening of Oroville’s Riverbend Park, which suffered intensive flooding injury in the course of the spillway disaster, is scheduled for mid-February and a grand opening is anticipated to coincide with the Wildflower Competition in April. The opening has been pushed again a number of occasions as a consequence of vandalism.

DWR confirmed final week that it nonetheless intends to reopen the spillway boat launch ramp and the street throughout the dam to entry it this summer time. Each options have been closed to the general public for the reason that spillway first cut up open two years in the past. The boat launch facility is the most important within the Lake Oroville State Recreation Space.

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A invoice signed into regulation by the president final 12 months, the 2019 Vitality and Water Growth Appropriations invoice, requires an unbiased overview of the Oroville Dam facility. Particularly, it requires the licensee of the Oroville Dam to request that the U.S. Society on Dams nominate unbiased consultants to arrange a danger evaluation. The Oroville resident-led Feather River Restoration Alliance mentioned this was not the “complete, unbiased evaluation” that the group sought.

A invoice proposed by Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Pink Bluff, to create a residents advisory fee for the dam additionally was signed into regulation final 12 months by then-Gov. Jerry Brown. Senate Invoice 955 creates a 19-member fee to offer a discussion board for residents and state officers to debate studies, upkeep and different ongoing points associated to the dam.

By the numbers

$1.1 billion: Estimated price to restore the Oroville Dam facility

612: Erosion-resistant concrete slabs put in in phases one and two

270,000: Cubic toes per second of water that may go down spillway at a time


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