About one-third of Butte County's $773 million agriculture industry is directly in the path of potential flood waters from Lake Oroville if the dam or its spillway were to fail, county agricultural commissioner Louie Mendoza told me this morning.
As it is, an untold number of farms and their operators were included in the evacuation orders that were issued yesterday.
The Highway 99 corridor between Chico and Yuba City is dominated by rice and tree crops, including almonds, walnuts, peaches and prunes. Complicating matters is that almonds are beginning bloom, which means there are thousands of bee boxes out. Those are often placed on the ground, although Mendoza told me many beekeepers anticipating flooded fields will put them on a stand.
In addition to farms, there are several processing facilities in the area, which could also be affected.
I'm still checking around. Watch here and at CapitalPress.com for updates.