At the end of the week Shasta County residents may see a brief pause in an otherwise active rainy season, but flooding will continue to pose a threat for many low-lying areas along the Sacramento River and near other tributaries.
Nine days ago, with the Oroville Dam under stress and battered by more harsh weather, Gov. Jerry Brown said he had no immediate plans to visit the site, suggesting “I don’t think they need politicians fluttering around.”
Lake Oroville will partially reopen on Thursday, nearly two weeks after more than 180,000 Northern California residents evacuated their homes and the lake area closed due to fears that the emergency spillway at Oroville Dam could fail.
The Department of Water Resources plans to remove at least some of the debris at the bottom of the Oroville Dam spillway and study the structure, but just aren’t sure when they’ll have a chance to do that.
Chris Orrock, Department of Water Resources spokesman for the Oroville spillway incident, said at least one of the fired workers was employed by Syblon Reid, a contractor working on repairs to fortify the dam’s emergency spillway.
The federal government can redirect water from a Northern California dam to prevent mass die-offs of salmon in drought years, water that otherwise would be shipped to Central Valley farmers, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.
Not far from the main drag through Oroville, a dozen local business owners and city officials faced each other in a hotel lunchroom Tuesday. They sought to begin developing an advertising campaign to transform a barrage of negative images and news reports about frantic efforts to prevent catastrophic flooding into a lucrative tourist attraction, albeit after the Feather River Basin’s rainy season ends in April.
After the state Department of Water Resources reached its goal early Monday morning of lowering the water level at Lake Oroville by 50 feet, officials said heavy rains would likely cause lake levels to rise several feet.
The early settlers snatched up the rich, loamy land along the Feather River to grow grapes and orchards. Edward Mathews, an Irishman who fled the potato famine, was peddling vegetables and didn’t have the cash for that kind of soil.
In the small community of Circle Oaks, California, a few miles east of the wine-soaked Napa Valley, residents are fuming over a wealthy Texas couple’s plans to cut down 14,000 adult oak trees and replant the cleared woodland with 209 acres (85 hectares) of irrigated grapevines. The project, opponents warn, will destroy fish and wildlife habitat, reduce the environment’s resilience to climate change, and drain groundwater reserves.
The badly damaged main concrete spillway at Oroville Dam was pounded by massive volumes of stormwater this month, but its failures occurred well short of the maximum flow that engineers designed the system to handle.