Corps makes flood releases from Black Butte Lake

Published Jan. 15, 2016

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District is making small flood releases from Black Butte Lake near Orland to safely accommodate high inflows expected over the next two weeks.  The watershed has seen consistent rainfall this winter and forecasters predict multiple storms will hit the area in the coming weeks.


The lake needs to be kept at or below a certain level, called the top of conservation pool, in order to have space available for the high volume of water projected to make its way to the lake.


Black Butte Lake is the only Corps reservoir in Northern California making flood releases. This is a result of the relatively small size of the lake which means it can fill up rapidly.


During a majority of the year, the Bureau of Reclamation is the organization that handles releases from Black Butte. However, during the winter season, when the water level rises above the top of conservation, the Corps has jurisdiction over the types of releases that are made to ensure flood risk reduction.


"These releases are all about safety," said Christy Jones, Chief of Water Management for the Sacramento District. "We fully understand how important it is to conserve water when it's plentiful, but we need to make flood releases to make sure that enough space is available to catch future storms and ensure the safety of everyone downstream."


The releases began on Jan. 7 and will continue as long as forecasters predict more water will enter the watershed.  The Corps will continue to monitor forecasts and inflow into the reservoir and coordinate decisions regarding the duration and amount of releases with partner agencies.

Luke Burns

Release no. 16-002