USACE approves request to temporarily reduce Isabella Dam flows

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District
Published Dec. 18, 2023
Aerial Photo of Isabella Dam, September 2022

An aerial view of the Isabella Dam Safety Modification Project in Lake Isabella, California, Sept. 14, 2022. From top to bottom, this view shows the auxiliary dam, labyrinth weir and emergency spillway, service spillway, and main dam, looking southeast. Crews with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District are approaching completion of construction work on the project, which is designed to reduce flood risk for downstream communities including Bakersfield.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has approved a request from Isabella Partners to reduce Isabella Dam water releases following a review and analysis by the USACE Sacramento District.

Isabella Partners made the request so that they can safely perform maintenance within their power plant property at the base of the dam. USACE’s approval provides the requested period to complete repairs to the power plant conduit, which was damaged earlier this year during high releases.

USACE considered factors related to reservoir storage management, dam safety, flood risk management, and environmental impacts.

The water management strategy at our flood risk reduction projects like Isabella Dam prioritizes the protection of life and property. The proposed water release deviation and associated maintenance plan does not pose a risk to the dam structure.

If conditions at Isabella Lake should present a significant flood risk at any time, USACE maintains the authority to take appropriate steps to revoke approval and increase releases. Such steps would be closely coordinated with Isabella Partners and Kern River water users.

Questions regarding the power plant or planned maintenance schedule should be directed to the plant owner, Isabella Partners.

Ken Wright
916-502-2673 (cell)

Release no. 23-035