CSPA joined Friends of the River and three other groups in an April 19, 2017 clarification and public process request to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) concerning repairs of the damaged spillway works at Oroville Reservoir. The letter asks FERC to release as much information to the public about damage, plans and repairs as is reasonably possible. It asks FERC and the Department of Water Resources (DWR) to allow discussion of this information in a public process that allows meaningful public input and response to the design and repair of dam’s facilities. The letter also asks FERC to clarify the process by which parties to the relicensing of the dam can engage in the reconstruction process. In addition to Friends of the River and CSPA, the letter is signed by South Yuba River Citizens League, Sierra Club, and American Whitewater.
The letter in particular advocates for construction of a complete second (“auxiliary”) spillway at the dam, in addition to reconstruction the main spillway that failed in early February. The very limited use of the auxiliary spillway on February 12 and 13, 2017 revealed its flawed design and caused the evacuation of 188,000 people from Oroville and downstream communities. DWR has not announced whether it plans to construct a concrete-lined auxiliary spillway parallel to new concrete main spillway, or whether DWR plans to build a concrete apron on the auxiliary spillway from which water would spill onto the dirt dam below.