Dramatic aerial photos show extensive damage to California's Oroville Dam spillway

The officials were counting salmon in the aftermath of disaster at the imperiled dam, where an eroding spillway was threatened after massive storms swept through Northern California. They expect that workers can clear between 500,000 and 1 million cubic yards of debris over the next five to seven days, Department of Water Resources spokeswoman Lauren Bisnett told the Associated Press.

It's been two weeks since a potentially catastrophic scenario appeared to be unfolding at Lake Oroville, north of Sacramento, which forced the evacuations of some 200,000 people ahead of what could have been a majorly destructive flood.

That in turn will help remove water in advance of the spring runoff.

"We're in it for the long haul and I've asked the public to be aware of that and be patient as we go forward", Honea said.

Monday's slowdown started at 6.45 am, going from 50,000 cubic feet per second to zero. Terrific, but where was LaMalfa back in 2005 during the relicensing of Oroville Dam, when Friends of the River, the Sierra Club, and the South Yuba Citizens League all pointed out the deficiencies of the emergency spillway and urged that it be armored with concrete?

"That is certainly the goal", she said. They lifted the evacuation order February 14.

Biologists from Fish and Wildlife and the California Department of Water Resources converged Tuesday at the Feather River after the waters of the Feather River receded from the reduced outflow from the damaged Oroville Dam spillway.

Removing the debris will protect a shuttered underground plant, allowing it to resume operations, the Department of Water Resources said.