Corps releases final environmental impact statement on the Isabella Lake Dam Safety Modification Project

Published Oct. 23, 2012

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District has released the final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Isabella Lake Dam Safety Modification Project for review and comment.

Completed in 1953, the Isabella Dam facility 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 Lake and its dams help reduce flood risk for Bakersfield and the surrounding region, generate electric power, and is a primary water source for agricultural water users throughout Kern County. The Isabella Lake Dam Safety Modification Project looks to address seepage, seismic and overtopping risks identified with Isabella Lake’s main and auxiliary dams to reduce the likelihood of dam failure during a large storm or seismic event.

The final EIS is intended to be used as a companion document to the draft EIS, released on March 23, 2012. The draft EIS was open for public comments until May 22. The Corps held a series of public hearings in affected communities on April 17, 18 and 19. Taking into consideration public and agency comments, the final EIS outlines the actions under the Corps’ preferred alternative 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.

The document can be reviewed on the Sacramento District’s website at:

The document will also be available beginning Friday, Oct. 26, at the Beale Memorial Library and Southwest Branch Library in Bakersfield; at the Ridgecrest Branch Library in Ridgecrest; at the Lake Isabella Public Library in Lake Isabella; and at the U.S. Forest Service offices in Lake Isabella, Porterville and Kernville. Following the required 30-day public review and comment period closing Nov. 26, 2012, a Record of Decision that documents the Corps findings and recommendations will be prepared.

The Corps will host three public information meetings on Nov. 13, 14 and 15 to discuss the Final EIS and the selection of the preferred alternative.


Public Meeting Locations

Kernville                                    Lake Isabella                                            Bakersfield

Nov. 13, 2012                              Nov. 14, 2012                                            Nov. 15, 2012

6 p.m. – 9 p.m.                            6 p.m. – 9 p.m.                                          6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Odd Fellows Hall                        Kern River Valley                                     Rabobank Convention

50 Tobias Street                        Senior Center                                           Center

Kernville, Calif.                          Vets Hall 1 & 2                                          Potato Room

                                                    6405 Lake Isabella Blvd.                         1001 Truxtun Ave.

                                                    Lake Isabella, Calif.                                 Bakersfield, Calif.

Carlos Lazo

Release no. 12-043