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Oroville Reservoir Reaches ‘Pivot Point,’ State Water Official Says

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For the first time since a crisis at Oroville Reservoir forced the evacuation of more than 100,000 people almost three weeks ago, engineers reactivated a vital hydroelectric plant at the base of the towering dam on Friday.

Reconstruction continues in a race to shore up the emergency spillway at Oroville Dam. (Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Reconstruction continues in a race to shore up the emergency spillway at Oroville Dam. (Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Renewed operation of the Hyatt Powerplant follows a frantic five-day race to remove tons of debris that posed a hazard to the facility’s massive turbines.

Now that enough debris has been cleared, dam operators can safely release water into the Feather River without using the facility’s badly damaged main spillway.

The water releases will also ensure the survival of millions of steelhead chinook salmon downstream, officials say.

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