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Rep. McCarthy announces $258.2 million for Isabella dam project

FILE - Water is released from the Isabella Dam in Kern County, Calif., Monday, Feb. 27, 2017. (KBAK/KBFX photo/Carol Ferguson)

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) – Rep. Kevin McCarthy on Thursday announced the Isabella Lake Dam Safety Modification Project is getting $258.2 million in federal funding.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held in April for the project, which is expected to be finished in 2022.

The dam was built in the 1950s, and the Army Corps of Engineers began a safety modification study more than a decade ago to address seismic, hydrologic and seepage concerns.

McCarthy said this $258.2 million, along with another $118 million that’s been earmarked for the project but not yet fully approved, should bring the work to completion.


“Today’s announcement marks another major win for the future of the City of Bakersfield, Kern County, and the communities of the Kern River Valley,” McCarthy said in a news release. “… This project will result in increased flood protection for communities below the reservoir, as well as increase water storage and recreational benefits.”

The engineering and design phase for the project lasted several years, wrapping up in 2016.

Last September, the Army Corps of Engineers awarded a contract for Phase II dam and spillway modifications.

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