Photos show big problems left by crumbled portion of Oroville Dam spillway

Sacramento Bee Staff

February 09, 2017 05:15 PM

Water rushing down the damaged Oroville Dam spillway breaches the concrete sides and spreads out across the earthen face of the dam on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017. Randy Pench rpench@sacbee.com
Water rushing down the damaged Oroville Dam spillway breaches the concrete sides and spreads out across the earthen face of the dam on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017. Randy Pench rpench@sacbee.com

Authorities are working hard to arrest and repair critical damage to the spillway of Oroville Dam, which holds back the waters of Lake Oroville, the second-largest man-made reservoir in California. The damage was discovered Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, during releases down the spillway meant to help manage the amount of water in the storm-swelled lake.

These photos provide a closer look at the dam and its problem.

 
Brown, muddy water gushes over the damaged spillway at Oroville Dam Thursday. Downstream, state officials were trying to rescue hatchery salmon, which could die in the turgid water. DALE KASLER / The Sacramento Bee
 
Water flows through break in the wall of the Oroville Dam spillway on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017, in Oroville, Calif. Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press
 
Workers inspect the Oroville Dam spillway failure Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017. State officials said it’s likely the chute will continue to erode as they release water to create flood-control space in the reservoir. RANDY PENCH / The Sacramento Bee
 
The torrents of water rushing through the damaged portion of Oroville Dam's main spillway tore up trees and soil before running back into the main channel on the way to the Feather River below on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017. RICH PEDRONCELLI / Associated Press
 
Workers skirt the damaged Oroville Dam spillway, getting an up-close look at the gaping rip in the giant chute that directs water from the lake to the stream below. KELLY M. GROW / Department of Water Resources
 
A longer view of Oroville Dam and its spillway puts the damage into perspective. The damage was discovered on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. KELLY M. GROW / Department of Water Resources
 
A closeup shows damage going through the surface of Oroville Dam's spillway, digging into the earthen structure underneath. KELLY M. GROW / Department of Water Resources
 
Hatchery workers race to rescue baby fish at risk from the muddy water flowing from the damaged Oroville Dam spillway. RANDY PENCH / The Sacramento Bee
 
Workers at the Feather River Hatchery herd salmon toward tanker trucks that will transport them to safer water. Hatchery water has been compromised by the muddy flow caused by the damaged Oroville Dam spillway. RANDY PENCH / The Sacramento Bee
 
Damage is apparent midway in the Oroville Dam spillway. KELLY M. GROW / Department of Water Resources
 
Department of Water Resources workers and members of the media watch as up to 20,000 cubic feet per second of water is released over the damaged spillway on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017 in Oroville, Calif. The Department of Water Resources said the erosion at Lake Oroville does not pose a threat to the earthen dam or public safety, and the reservoir has plenty of capacity to handle the continuing rain. RANDY PENCH / The Sacramento Bee
 
A 1996 photo shows the Oroville Dam spillway in full effect, aiming rushing torrents of water back toward the Feather River. KIM D. JOHNSON / Sacramento Bee File