U.S. Army Corps of Engineers begins Tule River Spillway Enlargement Phase 2

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District
Published Aug. 29, 2022
Updated: Aug. 29, 2022

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District held a groundbreaking ceremony today at the Shafer Dam spillway, on the banks of Success Lake near Porterville, California, to mark the beginning of Phase 2 construction on the Tule River Spillway Enlargement project.

“This project is about protecting the safety and well-being of the key community in California’s Central Valley,” said Col. Chad Caldwell, commander of the Sacramento District. “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers remains committed to serving them and our nation.”

The purpose of the project is to lower the flood risk for downstream communities by increasing the capacity of Success Lake by 28,000 acre-feet, which will also support the lake’s additional purposes of water storage and recreation. While Phase I widened the spillway’s right abutment and relocated the paved access road that traveled through the spillway, the project’s second phase will focus on widening the spillway an additional 165 feet and raising it by constructing a 10-foot-tall concrete Ogee Weir.

Members of Congress including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) and Rep. David Valadao (CA-21), and Col. (P) Antoinette Gant, commander of the USACE South Pacific Division, also spoke at the ceremony. The speakers lauded the partnership between local, state, and federal agencies to move the project forward. The Sacramento District has been working with the Central Valley Flood Protection Board and the Lower Tule River Irrigation District for decades to deliver this important project to the region.

“The Corps’s mission is to deliver vital engineering solutions in collaboration with our partners to secure our nation, energize our economy, and reduce disaster risk,” said Gant. “This project is an example of just that.”

Other Phase 2 modifications include armoring the concrete piles supporting Highway 190 where it crosses the lake to accommodate the 10-foot raise, relocation of Spillway Road, raising affected power poles in cooperation with Southern California Edison, and reinforcement of Frazier Dike at the northwestern edge of the lake.

In addition to project and congressional leaders, the Sacramento District was honored to have the family of Richard L. Schafer in attendance. Schafer was a longtime Tule River Water Master, a U.S. Army veteran who served in World War II, and a champion for the spillway enlargement project until he died in 2021. In honor of his contributions, Success Dam was formally renamed Richard L. Schafer Dam by an act of Congress introduced by McCarthy in 2019.  

Completion of the Tule River Spillway Enlargement Project is scheduled for 2024.

Jeremy Croft

Release no. 22-006