Reclamation recommends alternatives for addressing seismic concerns at B.F. Sisk Dam

Media Contact: Jeff Hawk, 916-978-5100 (O) 916-204-2348 (C),

For Release: August 23, 2019

B.F. Sisk Dam (also known as San Luis Dam)
B.F. Sisk Dam (also known as San Luis Dam)
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Bureau of Reclamation has evaluated the potential environmental impacts of various alternatives to reduce seismic risks at B.F. Sisk Dam, located in Merced County.

The recommended action from the environmental impact statement/environmental impact report will address potential seismic-induced destabilization of the dam, reduce safety concerns and maintain water supply deliveries to state and federal water contractors.

“The safety and welfare of those living downstream of this dam is our priority,” said Reclamation’s Mid-Pacific Regional Director Ernest Conant. “The project will also ensure we protect this vital water supply resource.”

Reclamation has implemented additional risk reduction measures as it works to put a more permanent dam safety project in place. These measures include heightened earthquake monitoring, real-time seismic monitoring, dam safety tabletop exercises with local responders, increased seismic inspection criteria and an update to the dam’s emergency management plan.

Reclamation owns B.F. Sisk Dam (also known as San Luis Dam) while the California Department of Water Resources operations the dam along with the off-stream San Luis Reservoir to provide more than 2 million acre-feet of supplemental storage capacity for the Central Valley Project and State Water Project. The reservoir provides many benefits to the nation, including water for irrigation, municipal and industrial use, recreation and hydroelectric power.

Reclamation and DWR expect to begin implementation of seismic modifications of the dam at the end of 2020.

The Final EIS/EIR considers and addresses all comments received during the public review period on the Draft EIS/EIR. Reclamation anticipates signing a Record of Decision in October 2019. The Final EIS may be viewed at Reclamation’s website at Contact Jamie LeFevre at 916-978-5035 (TTY 800-877-8339) for a CD copy.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier in the United States, and the nation's second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.