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NorthWestern Energy upgrading Black Eagle Dam spillway

Date: May 22, 2024

Great Falls, Mont. – May 22, 2024 – NorthWestern Energy is launching a major project to upgrade the spillway of our Black Eagle Dam on the Missouri River, enhancing the safety and reliability of the hydroelectric facility.

The project will involve installing new support structures and components of the spillway. The upgrade will improve the integrity of the dam. The project will also eliminate the need for manual ice removal, which is currently performed by NorthWestern Energy hydro crews during frigid temperatures. This will improve the safety of the workers and the efficiency of the operation.

The spillway upgrade will begin in September 2024 and take two years to complete. During this time, a barge will be located upstream of Black Eagle Dam to transport materials and equipment for the project. A barge landing is located on the north side of the Missouri River, upstream from Black Eagle Dam. Vehicle access to the landing for supply and equipment deliveries crosses the River’s Edge Trail, west of the fenced entrance to the Black Eagle Island area.

The River’s Edge Trail at the vehicle access site may be closed at times to transport equipment and materials across the trail. While intermittent, delayed use of the trail for up to an hour may occur without advance notice. Any longer-term, planned closures will be posted at In the event of intermittent delays, flaggers will be onsite to direct trail users to ensure the safety of the recreating public.

Metal plates are installed over the River’s Edge Trail at the vehicle access site to protect the trail. When the Black Eagle Dam Spillway Project is complete, the barge landing will be restored to the site’s original condition and the metal plates installed over the trail will be removed.

NorthWestern Energy appreciates the public’s patience and cooperation during this important project, which will enhance the long-term performance and safety of the Black Eagle Dam and the Missouri River hydro system.

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NorthWestern Energy - Delivering a Bright Future

NorthWestern Energy, provides essential energy infrastructure and valuable services that enrich lives and empower communities while serving as long-term partners to our customers and communities. We work to deliver safe, reliable, and innovative energy solutions that create value for customers, communities, employees, and investors. We do this by providing low-cost and reliable service performed by highly-adaptable and skilled employees. We provide electricity and / or natural gas to approximately 775,300 customers in Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Yellowstone National Park. Our operations in Montana and Yellowstone National Park are conducted through our subsidiary, NW Corp, and our operations in South Dakota and Nebraska are conducted through our subsidiary, NWE Public Service. We have provided service in South Dakota and Nebraska since 1923 and in Montana since 2002.


Media Contacts:

Jo Dee Black