The circular, drain-like spillway at Napa's Lake Berryessa is actively draining right now, and that was bad news for one poor duck caught on video.
First, some background: Lake Berryessa is a man-made lake — a.k.a. a reservoir — in Napa County that was created in 1958 with the construction of Monticello Dam. It is the seventh-largest lake in California, and during wet winters (the water level actually didn't get high enough in 2018), the lake hits capacity and water starts being let out into Putah Creek via this circular spillway — which has the unfortunate, naively bestowed nickname The Glory Hole.
With all the rain we've had, the spillway is now draining water at a rate of 48,400 cubic feet per second, and both humans and wildlife need to steer clear of it. (A 41-year-old woman named Emily Schwalek was sucked in and died in 1997.)
A Facebook video has gone viral showing the unfortunate demise of the completely oblivious duck, with some pretty obviously fake news attached (because: Facebook). "Duck took a wild ride but did make it out on the other side!" says the video's poster. But as a spokesperson for the spillway's owner, Brionna Ruff of the Bureau of Reclamation, tells SFGate, the duck almost definitely died. Noting the intense water pressure and the 18-story drop that the water takes, Ruff says, "The chances do not look good for the ducky."
Update: Maybe the duck did, indeed, survive as the video poster said. A credible witness to the incident itself, Solano County water resources technician Rick Fowler, claims to have seen the bird emerge alive out the other side, as ABC 7 reports. Also, a commenter on Facebook suggests the bird is a cormorant, not a duck, for what it's worth.
Here's the video, posted Monday, and you'll have to excuse the laughter of the dudes in the background. Poor duck.