Army Corps of Engineers working to reduce flood risk

The United States Army Corps of Engineers has been waging an ongoing battle to limit the flood damage when it comes to the water it's having to release from Success Lake as a result of last week's storm.

The United States Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District in which Success Lake is include stated on Wednesday it was releasing more than 10,000 cubic feet of water per second, cfs, at Richard L. Schafer Dam through its outlet works and spillway.

The Army Corps of Engineers also stated it was expecting to increase water releases to 12,500 cfs by Wednesday evening. As of Monday evening that release was 6,000 cfs.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District posted on its Facebook page a video of water being released stating “To understand how much water we're dealing with, you can also see what 5,200 cfs flowing through our outlet works looks like.”

The Army Corps of Engineers has been working with the City of Porterville, the County of Tulare and CALFIRE in its efforts.

In addition on Tuesday, the Army Corps of Engineers along with state and local agencies placed a log boom on Success Lake to help prevent upstream debris like trees and branches from flowing through the spillway and clogging the downstream channel. The log boom is the orange line of floating markers that can be seen at the lake.

“USACE is continuously communicating with local, county and state officials and stands ready to assist if called upon,” the agency stated.

The Army Corps of Engineers stated Schaffer Dam isn't currently at risk of being damaged or overtopping as even at capacity lake levels are still well below the dam. “USACE teams are now monitoring the dam and spillway around the clock and are coordinating with state and local partners to update release projections multiple times per day.”

The Army Corps of Engineers did state “Forecasted rain and increasing water releases may cause localized flooding downstream at Success Lake.”

The lake's capacity is about 82,000 feet with a gross pool capacity of 84,095 acre feet. A construction project to expand the spillway at Schafer Dam is now ongoing to deal with flooding events like the one that's now happening.

When done the project will increase the lake's capacity by 28,000 acre feet to 110,000 acre feet. It was hoped the project could be completed by the end of the year.

But construction equipment has been removed from the site so the spillway can function as designed even though the construction project isn't complete.

The lake's size continued to increase well above its capacity, the Army Corps of Engineers reported on Thursday morning. As of Thursday morning, the lake was at 95,181 acre feet, a slight increase from the 94,842 acre feet reported on Wednesday morning.

Local residents should reach out to local and county authorities for the latest information, resources, and evacuation warnings and orders. “This will not only help ensure your safety, but also maintain availability of emergency resources during this critical time,” USACE stated.

For ongoing emergency information, visit:

Tulare County Office of Emergency Services:

Tulare County – Emergencies:

Tulare County – Evacuation Notices: 

California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services:

To receive emergency alerts directly from the County of Tulare and the City of Porterville, sign up for AlertTC at

The county's flood hotline is also 559-802-9791.

There have been two evacuation orders issued by Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux east and west of Porterville,

An evacuation order has been issued for the Success Lake area. The evacuation order is for all residences, businesses and structures on both sides of the Tule River from Richard L. Schafer Dam at Sucess Lake to the east side of Road 284.

The evacuation order consists of the area from Schafer Dam, west on Avenue 146 to Road 284, south on Road 284 to the south side of the Tule River from the south side of the Tule River to Schafer Dame and north along Schafer Dam to Avenue 146.

The order doesn't include Highway 190 or residents and businesses along Highway 190 from Road 284 to Schafer Dam.

On Wednesday night Boudreaux also issued an evacuation order for the area west of Porterville on Olive Avenue, Avenue 152 to Avenue 144 and the Friant/Kern Canal to the Tule River and Westwood Street. It was reported homes in the area were flooded. About 100 residents were impacted.

The Westwood Bridge from Highway 190 to Orange Avenue also remained closed. Boudreaux stated that area around the bridge is unsafe for vehicles and pedestrians.

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