Oroville Dam: Farmers blame sudden spillway shutoff for eroded riverbanks | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

Oroville Dam: Farmers blame sudden spillway shutoff for eroded riverbanks

For three generations, Phillip Filter’s family has tended orchards that grow on a shelf of floodplain above the Feather River.

Because the trees stand between the river and a major flood-protection levee, Filter’s family is no stranger to floods that sometimes spill over the river banks, inundate the orchards and then recede back into the channel below.

But Filter has never seen damage to the riverbanks like what happened last week after the state suddenly shut down flows from Oroville Dam’s badly damaged spillway upstream.

For miles along the channel, huge chunks of the river’s banks collapsed into the water, toppling wild cottonwood, oak and black walnut trees. Filter said neighboring farmers lost irrigation pumps into the river. Roots from some of Filter’s orchards are now dangerously close to the gaping wounds in the river bank.

“We have no protection now,” he said.

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