Thursday, July 27, 2023 from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM PDT
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The Old Spaghetti Factory 
1910 J St
Sacramento, CA 95811

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Guy Graening, Post President 
SAME Sacramento Post 

July 2023 General Meeting: Lake Isabella Dam Safety Modification Project 

Construction of Dam Safety modifications to the Isabella Lake Project are finishing up to address actionable potential failure modes. Isabella Lake is located on the Kern River 34 miles upstream of the City of Bakersfield in Kern County, California. Isabella Dam was designated as a Dam Safety Action Class (DSAC) I project by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), requiring action to reduce probabilities of failure and associated consequences. Isabella Dam construction began in 1948 and was completed in 1953; the project consists of two embankment dams that provide flood control, water supply, power generation and recreation benefits to the region. The modifications under construction are addressing actionable potential failure modes identified over three primary areas of deficiency, including hydrologic overtopping, internal erosion of the foundation, and seismic instability from strong ground motion and/or fault rupture.    

Michael Ruthford is the Isabella Dam Safety Modification Project Lead Engineer and General Civil Branch Chief for the South Pacific Division Dam Safety Production Center. He has over 35-years of experience with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Almost all of his career has been focused on major civil works projects focusing on dams. Mr. Ruthford has been involved with the Isabella Dam Safety Modification Project since 2012 – from the end of the project study phase, through pre-construction engineering and design, engineering during construction, and finally dam safety action class re-classification. Mr. Ruthford holds a bachelors degree in Civil Engineering from California State University Sacramento and is a registered Civil Engineer in the State of California.