The state Department of Water Resources has, as promised, halted flows down the damaged main spillway at Oroville Dam. Even if you’ve been following the progress of this incident since it began Feb. 7, and even if you understood the damage to the spillway was catastrophic, the first images of the structure are sobering.
DWR stopped the release of water down the spillway early Monday afternoon with two main goals in mind.
First, it wants contractors to begin the task of removing a staggering amount of rubble, rock and sediment that have wound up at the bottom of the river channel below the spillway. Clearing the debris, in turn, will allow dam managers to resume operations at the hydroelectric power plant at the base of the dam, a facility that was shut down as water rose behind the blockage in the channel.
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