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Damaged Oroville Dam Spillway Triggering Gold Rush Dreams

YUBA CITY (CBS SF) -- There is a golden lining to the fears triggered by the damaged spillway at the Oroville Dam.

While the threat of collapse of the massive dam on the Feather River drove people from their homes last winter, the surge of water through the dam and down the damaged spillway has triggered gold fever in many local residents and dam construction workers.

Angela Dimmick is co-owner of Yuba City Coin and Bullion. She says gold collected by amateur prospectors is streaming through her doors.

"They are finding gold in the Feather River, the Yuba River, all the feeders that feed into the river," she said. "It's exciting."

Even for the workers who are repairing the damaged spillway.

"What we hear is from the Oroville Dam is that there are even the workers up there ... seeing the nuggets too," Dimmick said.

Her shop nestled into what was once the heart of the 1849 Gold Rush has been busy buying up gold found in the local rivers.

"There are so many people going in gold panning and bringing us gold," Dimmick said. "They just want to quit their jobs and ... put on their boots and go down to the river. That's really the truth."

But, Dimmick said, the reality is that most strikes range from $40 to $300.

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