Environmental groups predicted Oroville emergency spillway erosion in 2005



OROVILLE (CBS13) — State officials may have been aware of the dangers with the emergency spillway more than a decade ago. The 2005 report filed by three environmental groups describes the potential dangers with the spillway that unfolded over the weekend.

As the main spillway pours into the Feather River, the emergency spillway is dry and being reinforced with large rocks.

“This is a new, never-happened-before event,” said Bill Croyle the acting director with the Department of Water Resources.

Court filing here: http://yubariver.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/10172005_FOR-Sierra-Club-SYRCL_Oroville-Dam-Joint-Intervention.pdf

Officials with the DWR may have never thought they’d be in this predicament, according to Ron Stork with the environmental group Friends of the River.

“They didn’t think the emergency spillway would ever be required,” said Stork.

He authored a complaint filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission while DWR was trying to renew their dam operating license 12 years ago.

In the brief, Stork expressed concern about the use of the emergency spillway without a concrete chute. Saying water over the top would result in severe damage of the hillside and facilities downstream.

He went on to write that “use of the emergency spillway could cause a loss of crest control at the dam.” Meaning, like we heard on Sunday, a wall of water could flow uncontrollably.

“I’m not aware of the findings or what that was based on so I can’t respond to that at this time,” said Croyle.

While DWR officials denied knowing about the report during a news conference on Monday;

Stork’s brief notes, “An unarmored spillway is not in conformance with current FERC engineering regulations.”

Despite the warning from the past, Stork says the most important issue is rectifying the current crisis.

“The job is to reconstruct and construct an Oroville Dam that can be operated safely,” said Stork.




5 thoughts on “Environmental groups predicted Oroville emergency spillway erosion in 2005

  1. One wonders how many things can go wrong in the USA in just one month. The county’s powerful are asleep at the wheel. It is stunning.


  2. And yet the beach grass haters continue to tear out what is holding the dunes together, building wetland habitat and coastal protections. All in the name of eliminating those not native.
    “Native” has no real definition since all species move around the planet. Always have.


  3. Yes. move around with the help of people that have no idea what the environmental damage will be. Many countries are dealing with the problems of invasive species. That is the truth of it Uri. Millions are spent every year in the U.S. trying to get control of ill planned fixes, or in the case of the dam, no fix at all.


    • In this case the problem does not out weigh the benefits of using a grass to provide security, wetland habitats etc.
      Millions spent here could be better put to use.


  4. Unfortunately the emergency spillway suffers from the old adage “Seemed like the right thing to do at the time” The right thing to do now is to build a concrete one like should have been done 49 years ago.


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