Andrew Freeborn

USACE Announces Adjustments to Isabella Dam Water Release Control

Please note the following News Release from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers related to operations on the Kern River.


SACRAMENTO, California –The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District will begin the process early
Thursday morning, April 27th, to take full control of water releases from Isabella Lake as temperatures heat up.


Beginning at approximately 12 a.m. Thursday, operators will begin a phased process to briefly stop the release of
water from Isabella Lake into Isabella Partners’ hydropower plant at the foot of the main dam. Once releases have
stopped, power plant operators will drain the conduit and fully open the plant’s gates. Then dam operators will begin
releasing water again, gradually increasing the outflow to the current target of approximately 6,200 cubic feet of
water per second.


This flood risk reduction measure will enable USACE to fully control the rate at which controlled water releases enter
the Kern River ahead of increased temperatures and reservoir inflows due to snowmelt runoff. Currently, the
hydropower plant controls that rate.


It will take approximately six hours to stop flows through the hydropower plant, with releases expected to be reduced
by 1,000 cfs each hour. After power plant operators evacuate the conduit and fully open the hydropower plant gates,
USACE will restart releases at 500 cfs and will increase outflow by 500 cfs per hour for about 12 hours, or until the
release reaches the target outflow.


USACE strongly discourages activities in or around downstream waterways because currents are expected to
fluctuate significantly, increasing danger for anyone in the water or along banks.


USACE continues to coordinate controlled water releases with local and state agencies to add flood control space in
our reservoirs and to help reduce the impacts of snowmelt runoff or potential future precipitation. Our number one
priority continues to be the life, health, and safety of the public.


For emergency information and planning resources, please visit:
Kern County Emergency Plans:
Kern County Emergency Alert Program:
California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services:

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