Location & Description
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 JV) 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 will switched traffic to the detour in early October and there will be periodic delays so the contractor can move equipment. Work will continue at this location until mid-2020. USACE will provide updates on expected impacts via public outreach, the monthly SITREP, and the Isabella Task Force.
  • Production blasting will continue 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 has restarted. The contractor will replace or provide temporary facilities of all recreation features before demolishing existing facilities. The recreation areas will remain open but the contractor will mark certain areas off limits to ensure public safety during construction operations.

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