A needed project at Schafer Dam at Success Lake that was put on hold for 15 years is now going to be completed.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded a $30 contract to begin construction on Phase I of the Success Reservoir Enlargement Project to enlarge Richard L. Schafer Dam. The project will be for abutment widening of the dam and also the relocation of an existing road near the dam. 

“A top priority of mine has been to see Success Reservoir enlarged to increase flood protection for the city of Porterville, other communities, and the hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland below Schafer Dam,” Congressman Kevin McCarthy said. “After securing funding for this project and years of meetings with USACE officials to advance this project, the award of this contract denotes a key milestone in the SREP – the commencement of construction at Schafer Dam following an approximate 15-year pause. 

“I want to commend Brigadier General (Kimberly) Colloton, Colonel (James) Handura, and the USACE project team on their continued work to see the SREP through to completion, and I want to thank the Tule River Improvement Joint Powers Authority and other local stakeholders for the support and dedication to advancing this project.”

Congress authorized the SREP in the Water Resources Development Act in 1999 for flood control project.  SREP construction began in 2003, but was put on hold in 2005 following potential safety concerns with Schafer Dam. Those safety concerns have been resolved, allowing the project to continue.

In October, 2016 the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, which oversees Success Lake, allocated $200,000 for the SREP. In February,2018, President Trump signed into law the Bipartisan Budget Act which included more than $15 billion to flood and storm damage projects. The SREP was fully funded as a result of the legislation.

On May 18, 2020, a $30 million contract was issued to Central Valley Environmental Incorporated for Phase I of the SREP. Funding for Phase II of the SREP is expected to be approved in 2021. Phase II will raise the emergency spillway at Schafer Dam by 10 feet.

On August 8, legislation sponsored by McCarthy to rename Success Dam to Richard L. Schafer Dam was signed by President Trump. Schafer worked as the Water Master on the Tule River for 56 years.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District will host a public meeting February 4 to discuss the re-initiation of the Tule River Spillway Enlargement Project, which received $74 million in appropriations in 2018 to raise Success Dam’s spillway up to 10 feet higher.

A total of $74 million has been set aside in appropriations for the SREP. The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers reports there’s now a 1-in-50 chance in any given year for flooding to occur in Porterville from the Tule River. The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers reported completion of the SREP will reduce the flood risk in half. The goal is for the construction of the entire SREP project to be completed by 2024.

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