Notice of Availability for B.F. Sisk Dam Safety of Dams Modification Project Draft EIS/EIR


The Bureau of Reclamation and the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) have released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR) for a 45-day public review.

The Draft EIS/EIR evaluates environmental impacts from different alternatives developed to prevent destabilization of the dam embankment during a seismic event. The Draft EIS/EIR also analyzes safety concerns and water supply deliveries to State and Federal contractors. Initial seismic investigations conducted under Reclamation’s Safety of Dam Program and DWR’s Division of Safety of Dams determined that sections of B.F. Sisk Dam sit above liquefiable and soft soils. Findings from the seismic investigation have substantiated that sections of the dam could slump below the water line, or allow cracking to develop through the embankment, which could lead to dam failure. The analysis concluded that failure is unlikely in any particular year; however, the consequences of dam failure could be severe. 

The alternatives considered in the Draft EIS/EIR propose construction at the San Luis Reservoir in Merced County. Operation of the alternatives could affect water system operations in Contra Costa, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, Merced, Orange, Riverside, San Benito, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, Santa Clara, and Ventura counties. The Draft EIS/EIR concluded that the project could result in significant and unavoidable surface water supply and noise impacts during project construction.  

Public meetings to solicit comments on topics addressed in the Draft EIS/EIR have been scheduled for:

  • May 7, 2019, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Federal Building, Cafeteria Conference Rooms, 2800 Cottage Way, Sacramento, CA 95825
  • May 8, 2019, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Miller and Lux Building, 830 6th Street, Los Banos,, CA 93635

The Draft EIS/EIR and appendices can be viewed below:

  • B.F. Sisk Dam Safety of Dams Modification Project Draft EIS/EIR
  • B.F. Sisk Dam Safety of Dam Modification Project EIS/EIR Appendix

If you encounter problems accessing documents online, please email The documents are also available for in-person review at: (1) DWR Office at 1416 Ninth Street, Room 604-8, Sacramento, CA 95814; (2) Reclamation Mid-Pacific Region Office at 2800 Cottage Way, Sacramento, CA 95825; (3) Los Banos Public Library at 1312 Seventh St Los Banos, CA 93635.

Written comments on the environmental document should be received by close of business May 27, 2019, and should be sent to Shelly Amrhein, DWR, P.O. Box 942836, Sacramento, CA 94236-0001, or via e-mail to, or faxed to (916) 653-2960. For additional information or a CD copy of the document, please contact Shelly Amrhein at (916) 653-6973.