Repairs to Isabella Dam power plant completed; Kern River flows to ramp back up

“Repairs to a damaged tunnel inside the power plant at the base of Isabella Dam were completed Saturday, just seven days after the project began, according to an attorney for Water Audit California, a public interest group suing to keep water in the Kern River.

Releases from the dam had been reduced to about 100 cubic feet per second during the repairs and are now expected to ramp back up, according to attorney William McKinnon who has been coordinating with the Army Corps of Engineers and power plant owner Isabella Partners.

Roger Kirk, the manager of the power plant, referred questions about the project to McKinnon.

Flows in the river had been set to drop to almost nothing during the repair project, which was originally scheduled to begin Dec. 18 and last potentially three weeks, according to a previous interview with plant operator Rush Van Hook.

That would have dried up the river downstream, resulting in a massive fish kill.

After McKinnon and the other plaintiffs learned of the impending repair project in early December, McKinnon began working with Isabella Partners to find a way to keep at least 200 cfs in the river.” [Read More]