The US Bureau of Reclamation has kicked off its 120th anniversary year this week at San Luis Reservoir with the groundbreaking of the B.F. Sisk Dam Safety Modification Project.

The billion-dollar effort received a $100 million investment earlier this year from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This is USBR’s largest project under the 1978 Safety of Dams Act and when complete will modernize the dam to reduce risks due to seismic events.

“B.F. Sisk Dam and San Luis Reservoir are representative of Reclamation’s legacy of effective resource management,” said Reclamation Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton. “The work being done here today – funded by the transformative Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – is emblematic of our commitment to modernize water infrastructure. So, it is fitting to break ground here once again and invest in our infrastructure and in the future of California.”

Construction has now begun to retrofit the 3.5-mile-long B.F. Sisk Dam to protect it from future seismic events and for public safety. Construction will include stability berms and other engineered features. The dam impounds San Luis Reservoir, the nation’s largest off stream reservoir, which provides water for farms, wildlife refuges, and Californians served by the federal Central Valley Project and State Water Project.

“We are thrilled to celebrate the anniversary of the Bureau of Reclamation today in the same footprint where President John F. Kennedy dedicated San Luis Reservoir sixty years ago,” said Reclamation Regional Director Ernest Conant. “President Kennedy stressed the uniqueness of the project in 1962 due to the federal, state, and local partnerships that came together to make the original project happen. These collaborations continue today and enable Reclamation’s California-Great Basin Region to make important strides in water management especially in light of changes brought on by climate change.”