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Houseboats Removed From Lake Oroville Due To Low Water Levels

LAKE OROVILLE (CBS13) — Lake levels are dropping to new lows, just as the boating season is kicking off.

Houseboats are being hauled out by the dozen as drought conditions are forcing big boat owners on Lake Oroville out of the water.

Houseboat owners told CBS13 they got letters saying their boats would be removed no matter what. The lake is down to one of the last launch ramps at Bidwell Canyon Marina. Boaters are forced to descend lower and lower to keep up with water levels.

Steve DeSanto spoke to CBS13 while standing in a spot he said was underwater just eight months ago.

"This is probably going to be the last one that they use until the lake's too low to put a boat in the water," DeSanto said.

According to the Lake Oroville public safety chief, a total of 130 houseboats from two marinas were hauled out on a big rig to parking lots next to the lake.

"I know there's a lot of unhappy houseboaters out there right now," said Allen Link, a Lake Oroville houseboat owner.

Link's houseboat was not removed, but he's working to create a houseboat homeowners association to fight back for others.

"They didn't have time to plan anything or arrange anything," he said.

Lake Oroville officials said the boats were removed because they were in shallow water and could be damaged as lake levels continue to drop.

One boat owner CBS13 spoke to said houseboaters have the choice of hauling their boats home or paying rent to the state to use the parking lot.

According to forecasted water storage, by October, Lake Oroville is set to hit some of the lowest water levels it's seen in four decades.

"Not even two years ago we had a full lake," Link said.

Removing houseboats has happened at Lake Oroville before, including during the drought six years ago. Owners also lost access during the Camp Fire and when COVID-19 restrictions were in full force.

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