Lake Isabella, CA – Isabella Lake Dam (consisting of a Main Dam, Auxiliary Dam and service spillway) is located about 40 miles northeast of Bakersfield in Kern County, California, and became fully operational in 1953.

The Main Dam is located near the confluence of the north and south forks of the Kern River and the Auxiliary Dam is located about half a mile east of the Main Dam. The Main Dam is a 185-foot-high earth-fill dam, and the Auxiliary Dam is a 100-foot-high earth-fill dam.

The service spillway is located between the two dams. The reservoir (Isabella Lake) has a gross storage capacity of 568,075 acre feet.


  • The Phase II Dams and Spillways contractor (Flatiron/Dragados/Sukut Joint Venture, or FDS) continues construction activities. As a result, the site including Engineers Point is an active construction area and is off limits to the public.
  • Corps policy prohibits public operation of unmanned aircraft systems, such as drones, on or above federal lands and waters managed by USACE. The policy is intended to ensure critical infrastructure security and public safety.

Looking Ahead (Next 30+ days)

  • Construction on SR155 near the Main Dam will continue throughout 2019. The contractor is currently constructing the embankment for the SR155 detour. Traffic is expected to be moved to the detour in spring 2019, which will create periodic traffic delays. USACE will provide updates on expected impacts via public outreach, the monthly SITREP, and the Isabella Task Force.
  • Production blasting has started and will continue through all of 2019 and into 2020. The contractor will establish a safety perimeter to restrict access during each blast, including along SR155 near the main dam, which will be temporarily closed during blasting operations.
  • Work on the Old Isabella, South Fork, and Auxiliary Dam recreation areas are underway. This work is limited to Monday through Thursday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and is required be complete by Memorial Day weekend. While the recreation areas will remain open during construction, some areas within those sites will be off limits to ensure public safety. All facilities, however, will have replacements ready prior to demolishing the existing features.
  • Public meetings will be scheduled for early April in Kernville and Lake Isabella to provide DSMP updates to the community.

The full report, click here.

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