Corps releases environmental document regarding Isabella Lake Dam for public comment

Published Nov. 19, 2015

SACRAMENTO, California – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District released its plan for relocating U.S. Forest Service administrative and recreation facilities near Isabella Lake Dam in a draft supplemental environmental assessment today.

The plan outlines how the Corps will mitigate for impacts associated with the Isabella Lake dam safety project, which includes raising the main and auxiliary dams 16 feet and adding an emergency spillway to the facility.

The draft SEA is a follow-up to the Isabella Lake Dam Safety Modification Project environmental impact statement, completed in 2012, which initially identified construction impacts to administrative and recreation facilities. The draft SEA assesses opportunities to mitigate for affected resources.

A plan for a temporary visitor center in Lake Isabella is among the items in the draft plan; however, the location of a permanent visitor center is not discussed. Investigation into potential locations for a permanent facility is ongoing and is expected to be addressed in more detail in the future.

The draft SEA is available on the project web page at Additionally, public meetings will be held Dec. 7-9, 2015, for interested individuals to learn more about the proposed relocations, ask questions to Corps staff and submit comments. Comments will be accepted until Dec. 19

The public meetings will be held:

Dec. 7, 2015; 6-8 p.m.
Kern Valley Vets Center
6405 Lake Isabella Blvd
Lake Isabella, CA 93240

Dec. 8, 2015; 6-8 p.m.
Kernville Elementary School
13350 Sierra Way
Kernville, CA 93238

Dec. 9, 2015; 6-8 p.m.
Kern County Board of Supervisors Chambers
1115 Truxtun Ave
Bakersfield, CA 93301

Copies of the Isabella Lake DSM Project EIS and Record of Decision may be obtained at this website or by contacting the Sacramento District Public Affairs Office, 1325 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95814; Phone (916) 557-5100; email:

Completed in 1953, Isabella Lake 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 Lake and its dams reduce flood risk for Bakersfield and the surrounding region, and is a primary water source for water users throughout Kern County. The Isabella Lake Dam Safety Modification Project will address overtopping, seismic and seepage issues identified with Isabella Lake’s Main and Auxiliary dams to reduce the likelihood of dam failure. In 2013, the Corps entered the pre-construction engineering and design phase of the project. Relocation construction work is scheduled to begin in 2016. Construction of the dam modifications is scheduled to begin in 2017. 

Tyler Stalker

Release no. 15-052