A helicopter tour over Oroville Dam and the Feather River on Wednesday, March 1, 2017, reveals the dramatic extent of damage suffered by the spillway, the adjacent hillside scoured down to bedrock and the streambed of the Feather River piled with Randy Pench The Sacramento Bee
A helicopter tour over Oroville Dam and the Feather River on Wednesday, March 1, 2017, reveals the dramatic extent of damage suffered by the spillway, the adjacent hillside scoured down to bedrock and the streambed of the Feather River piled with Randy Pench The Sacramento Bee

Water & Drought

From the air: Images show ruined Oroville Dam spillway, hard-hit Feather River

Sacramento Bee Staff

March 01, 2017 04:48 PM

Aerial photographs taken by The Sacramento Bee’s Randy Pench from a helicopter flying over Lake Oroville, Oroville Dam and its wrecked spillway and the clogged Feather River below the dam show the damage caused by record flows released from the lake as the region was hammered by relentless February storms.

The devastation was evident on Wednesday, March 1, 2017.

 
Aggregate washed down from the Oroville Dam spillway and hillside above is excavated from the Feather River and hauled away by large dump trucks as workers create a channel to release the trapped water below the dam on Wednesday, March 1, 2017, Oroville, Calif. RANDY PENCH / The Sacramento Bee
 
Two workers appear tiny standing on scoured rock where it meets the wrecked Oroville Dam spillway on Wednesday, March 1, 2017. RANDY PENCH / The Sacramento Bee

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Oroville Dam's main spillway shows the damage inflicted on it during record flows in February, and the abutting hillside is scoured to the bedrock. Below, Heavy equipment is used to clear the clogged Feather River channel. RANDY PENCH / The Sacramento Bee
 
The critically damaged Oroville Dam spillway and dam hillside dry in the winter sun after water stopped flowing, on Wednesday, March 1, 2017. RANDY PENCH / The Sacramento Bee
 
Damage to the Oroville Dam spillway is stark on a clear winter day on Wednesday, March 1, 2017. RANDY PENCH / The Sacramento Bee
 
Roads carved on the massive debris piles that clog the Feather River allow passage of heavy equipment used to help clear the channel. RANDY PENCH / The Sacramento Bee
 
Heavy equipment operating on barges floating upon water trapped behind debris in the Feather River channel, as well as other workers and equipment, toil to clear the riverbed. RANDY PENCH / The Sacramento Bee
 
A parade of heavy equipment clears rock and other debris that accumulated at the base of the damaged Oroville Dam spillway. RANDY PENCH / The Sacramento Bee
 
Barges carry heavy equipment as work continues to dredge the Feather River downstream from the damaged Oroville Dam spillway. RANDY PENCH / The Sacramento Bee
 
Oroville Dam, the nation's tallest, looms in the background while work to clear the Feather River of rocks and other debris continues on Wednesday, March 1, 2017. RANDY PENCH / The Sacramento Bee