The Kern River Valley Historical Society is celebrating over 50 years of operation! Our mission is to preserve and communicate the rich and colorful history of this region. The Kern Valley Museum in downtown Kernville, next to the Post Office, welcomes visitors to explore our rich history.

What's Happening

Isabella Reservoir is located forty miles northeast of Bakersfield, Kern County, California, and consists of earth-fill Main and Auxiliary Dams across Kern River and Hot Springs Valley. In September 2017 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded a $204 million contract to Flatiron/Dragados/Sukut Joint Venture of Benicia, California, to construct modifications to the Isabella dams. The construction of Phase II began April 2018 with our groundbreaking ceremony, and is scheduled to be complete in 2022. 

With more than 300,000 people living and working below the dams, primarily in the town of Lake Isabella and the city of Bakersfield, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began a dam safety modification study in 2006 to address seismic, hydrologic (potential over-topping during an extreme flood event) and seepage issues at the dams. This 12-year dam safety program consisted of planning, engineering, and design that analyzed the dam safety risk to the downstream communities that will ultimately lead to a better and safer dam. This presentation will highlight the history and challenges of the program so far and give a review of the current construction operations.