Fish rescue at Feather River near Oroville Dam

Almost 200,000 people were evacuated three weeks ago amid fears of a catastrophic flood.

Recent dry weather, though, has allowed officials to further assess the damage as the water level of the lake drops.

With recent events surrounding Oroville Dam in California and others like it around the nation, the United States Society on Dams and the Canadian Dam Association have joined together to bring every community in America greater safety and security for the public wherever dams are located.

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) successfully curtailed flows from the flood control spillway yesterday from 50,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 0 cfs.

"That is certainly the goal", she said.

The outflow from behind the 770-foot-tall dam will be stopped for several days to give workers time to clear debris from a pool at the bottom of the spillway.

The debris is also blocking the water flow, meaning that it is not moving with sufficient force to generate enough electricity when it reaches the power plant, which is now not operating. The plant helps manage reservoir levels.

Almost 200,000 people were forced to flee their homes in mid-February due to fears the damaged spillway would fail and unleash a wall of water on the communities below. They lifted the evacuation order February 14.

A damaged spillway with eroded hillside is seen in an aerial photo taken over the Oroville Dam in Oroville, California, U.S. February 11, 2017. The water was shut off by 2 pm.

Fishery flows coupled with emergency spillway releases to match extreme high water year inflows may prove a better bang for the buck and ultimately a safe investment that fulfills a longtime need to make Trinity Dam safer.

  • Larry Hoffman