West Flooding Dams

June 2, 2011 - 5:59 PM
In this June 1, 2011 photo, students on a field trip eat lunch as water is released from Grand Coulee Dam, Wash. The giant concrete dams of the arid West are like a massive plumbing system, and these days the pipes are close to bursting. At Grand Coulee Dam, gigantic cascades of water are being released to make room for spring snowmelt that is expected to fill the reservoir. The surging water is so violent that fish downstream are being killed. It's a similar story in much of the West, where a wet, cold spring has slowed the melting of the winter snowpack in the mountains, while filling reservoirs with rainfall. (AP Photo/Nicholas K. Geranios)