Public gets first look at Success Dam spillway project

Army Corps of Engineers hold public meeting to discuss environmental document Oct. 8 in Porterville

By Reggie Ellis @Reggie_SGN

SACRAMENTO – A plan to prevent flooding below Success Dam is now available for public review.

On Sept. 26, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District released a draft environmental assessment outlining the Tule River Spillway Enlargement Project at Success Lake in Tulare County.

The project includes widening the Success Dam Emergency Spillway from 200 to 365 feet wide.

Flooding downstream from Success Dam has damaged agricultural areas west of Porterville for decades. In 1983 flooding is estimated to have caused $11 million in damages in terms of today’s money. While the current spillway can handle 10,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) from the dam through the City of Porterville, it bottlenecks to a capacity of 3,200 cfs just west of the city.

“Agricultural areas west of the city are the first areas where property damage and danger to residents have historically occurred, given a release greater than 3,200 cfs.,” the report states.

The project is also proposing to realign a portion of Worth Drive (Avenue 146) from its current route in the spillway footprint. The road realignment will prevent road closures during high water encroachment and allow better use of sandbags or other measures used to temporarily increase the existing spillway elevation, thereby increasing the storage capacity of Success Reservoir for flood risk management purposes. This is Phase 1 of the project and includes blasting and the mechanical removal of the road. A new road bed will be incorporated into the right bank abutment, removing it from the spillway. Phase 2 of the project encompasses raising the spillway.

The Draft EA is available for review at and at the Lower Tule River Irrigation District Office, 357 E Olive Ave. in Tipton, Calif.

A public meeting is scheduled for Oct. 8 to discuss the document, ask questions of Army Corps of Engineer staff, and to submit comments for the record. A public meeting will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. on Oct. 8 at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall, 1900 W. Olive Ave. in Porterville. Comments will be accepted through Oct. 26.

For more information about the Tule River Spillway Enlargement Project or the upcoming public meeting, please contact the Sacramento District Public Affairs Office at 916-557-5100 or via email at [email protected].

Success is an earthen dam standing 145 feet tall and 3,490 feet long and is located on the Tule River about 6 miles east of Porterville. The dam and reservoir were authorized as part of the Tule River Project under the Flood Control Act of 1944 and construction was completed in 1961. The reservoir provides flood risk management, water storage and recreation benefits to the local area.

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