This section of the lower Kern is easier than the downstream Sandy Flat to Democrat section and equally scenic. The river flows past low granite cliffs in a narrow but deep bedrock channel. There are long sections of flatwater paddling, broken up by some class 2 rapids, but there are also several serious class 3 to 3+ rapids.
Unfortunately this section has much less dependable flows due to the powerhouse diversion. Additionally there are increased brush and tree hazards. The lower flows allow vegetation to grow further out into the streambed.
Other Information Sources:
Dreamflows guides: Kern - Jungle Run
CampingWikipediaKern River FestivalKern River AllianceKern Valley River CouncilAudubon, Kern River PreserveWild and Scenic KernSequoia National Forest Kernville office phone # 760-376-3781Sierra South store
Cassady & Calhoun, Martin, Alan BatyLinks to important documents: Extension of Time for boating release agreement.Objections of Kern Water Users to boating flowsNew license doucument, Granted May 17, 2008Army Corp objections to boating releasesComments by American Whitewater and Sierra Club
The 2006 Order requires a minimum instream fish release ranging from 25 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 60 cfs, depending upon the time of year. However, because the original intake works of the Borel Project have been inundated by the storage in the Isabella Reservoir, the fish releases from Isabella Reservoir are under the control of the Corps and the Isabella Partners Hydro Project (FERC Project No. 8377), located at the base of the Isabella main dam. Therefore, these flow releases are made on behalf of the licensee by an agreement signed by the licensee and the Corps on April 23, 1999, as amended on September 1, 2006, and by Isabella Partners (IP) under the direction of the Corps.
Minimum boatable flows in this reach are around 300 cfs. Since the Borel Powerhouse diverts about 600 cfs, releases from Isabella Reservoir need to be at least 900 cfs before this section is boatable. The dreamflows.com graph above shows the amount of water remaining in the river after the powerhouse diversion.
Flow information is provided by the Army Corp of Engineers, at Isabella info
New minimum instream flows are 25 cfs from November through April, 30 cfs in May and October, and 60 cfs from June through September.
A USGS schematic map of inflows, diversions, storage and gauges is in this Kern River Basin, pdf file.
Historic flow information is available for the years 1945 to 1993 from USGS gauge #11191000.
The Army Corp has links to historical reservoir information (inflows, outflows, storage, & precipitation, from 1995) at this California Reservoirs page. You can view either graphs or tabulated data. The flow in this reach is listed in the second column from the right as Isabella, in the tabulated data. It is listed as Kern Isabella in the graphs.
Permits are not required for this reach.
Kern; rock formations-2
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The U.S. Forest Service recently released the revised Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and Draft Forest Plans (DFP) for the Sierra and Sequoia National Forests. As part of this process, National Forests are required to identify the eligibility of rivers for inclusion into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Once a river is found eligible it is managed to protect the values that support their inclusion. To that end, American Whitewater has identified recreation as an outstandingly remarkable value on many iconic whitewater rivers within the Sierra and Sequoia National Forest and is advocating for their inclusion into the inventory of eligible Wild & Scenic Rivers. Dinkey Creek Photo by Daniel Lundberg
American Whitewater and the local Sierra Club River Touring Chapter filed comments on Southern California Edison’s application for a new license for the Borel Hydroelectric Project. This filing is part of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) relicensing process for this project. American Whitewater and the Sierra Club River Touring Chapter have participated in this relicense process since August 2000. This relicense proceeding is a 5.5 year commitment.
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