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Posted 4/27/2012

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By Tyler Stalker


SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District extended the public comment period for the Isabella Dam draft environmental impact statement, giving the public an additional 15 days to provide feedback on potential Isabella Dam fixes.

The Corps released the draft report on March 16 and officially opened the comment period a week later, giving local agencies and citizens a 45-day window to provide comments. Due to the complexity of the project and the unreliability of internet access in some areas, the Corps extended the comment period an additional 15 days to May 22 following local requests for more time.

Published in the Federal Register and on the district’s website at www.spk.usace.army.mil, under “In the news” on the left side of the page, the draft EIS outlines proposed actions to address known risks at Isabella Lake’s two dams and evaluates those actions’ effects on the environment, natural resources and daily life of affected residents.
Written comments can be submitted through the postal mail or by e-mail to the addresses listed in the draft EIS.
Individuals and agencies were able to provide written and oral comments to the Corps during a series of public meetings April 17-19, where the Corps presented the findings of the draft EIS, explaining the environmental review process and ongoing associated environmental studies, and announced the extension to all attendees.
The Isabella Dam Safety Modification Study is looking to address seepage, seismic and overtopping risks identified with Isabella Lake’s main and auxiliary dams to reduce the risk of dam failure or catastrophic downstream flooding during a large storm.

A final environmental impact statement is tentatively scheduled to be released in fall 2012.
Completed in 1953, Isabella Dam is located approximately 42 miles northeast of Bakersfield. The reservoir is impounded by two earthen dams on the Kern River and Hot Springs Valley. Today, Isabella Reservoir and its dams help reduce flood risk for Bakersfield and the surrounding region, and are a primary water source for water users throughout Kern County.