Oroville Spillway Recovery Effort Presentation

Oroville Spillway Recovery Effort Presentation – December 8 @ 1 pm.

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Presentation Background: In the first two months of 2017, atmospheric rivers dumped an entire average year’s runoff (4.4 million acre-feet) into Lake Oroville. Amid this extreme weather, erosion of the main, gated spillway at Oroville Dam triggered the use of the adjacent emergency spillway for the first time. Subsequent erosion of the hillside below the emergency spillway and concerns about its possible failure prompted the Butte County Sheriff to order a mandatory evacuation of nearly 200,000 people living downstream of Lake Oroville.

In 2017, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) completed the first phase of the Lake Oroville Spillways Emergency Recovery Project—rebuilding and strengthening the 3,000-foot long main spillway to safely handle flows of 100,000 cubic-feet per second for the 2018 wet season. In 2018, DWR reconstructed the top 730 feet of the main spillway and added structural concrete to the middle portion of the spillway to make it capable of passing flows of 270,000 cubic-feet per second. In 2019, DWR also reconstructed the emergency spillway. The upper portion of the hillside spillway has been armored under several feet of roller-compacted concrete and a concrete cut-off wall has been placed in the bedrock to prevent any erosion from migrating uphill.

DWR has also developed a comprehensive needs assessment for the Oroville Dam complex to identify priorities and solutions to bolster the integrity and resilience of the complex to assure public safety.

Speaker Bio: Michelle Banonis is a 1999 Environmental Engineering graduate of Michigan Tech.  She is currently the Assistant Chief Deputy Director of the California Department of Water Resources out of Sacramento, which oversees the largest user-funded water infrastructure project in the country and delivers water to nearly 30 million people.  Previously, Michelle worked for the U.S. Department of the Interior – Bureau of Reclamation as well Pierce County Washington Public Works and Utilities.  She is a licensed attorney and has worked in the areas of policy, law, biology, ecology, and engineering.  Michelle is also an elected board member of the National Lawyers Guild which seeks to further social justice reform.


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