One exciting side effect of the Oroville Dam spillway crisis this winter has been a new albeit modest gold rush along the rivers that the spillway fed into, like the Feather River and Yuba River.
The Yuba River, in what's been known as Gold Country since the 1840s, has always been a popular destination for gold-panning tourists, but as CBS 5 reports, construction workers at the spillway and amateur gold-seekers alike have been finding bunches of the stuff in the last couple of months there and in the Feather River, likely as a result of the rush of water that was unleashed down the spillway before, during, and after the dam crisis that led to a mid-February evacuation of 180,000 people.
Angela Dimmick of Yuba City Coin and Bullion tells CBS 5 that "it's exciting" to see the uptick in people bringing in gold nuggets to cash in. But dreams of being able to quit your job and do this are a little far fetched she says most "strikes" are worth between $40 and $300.
Construction workers, who are racing to get the 50-year-old spillway repaired before November rains begin, have apparently also spotted the shiny stuff.
Millions upon millions of gallons of water rushed into the Feather River over the course of several months after the Lake Oroville reservoir became swollen with rain and runoff from the Sierra snowmelt. The excess flow later led to the collapse of riverbanks and loss of land for some farmers along the Feather River when the waters receded and the banks were left water-logged.
Clearly all that water has shifted enough sediment around that the gold-rich rivers that created the Bay Area we now know are giving up their treasures again, at least a little bit.
Stay tuned, though someone could strike it rich.