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NorthWestern Energy Plans Missouri Drawdown to Accommodate Black Eagle Dam Repairs

Jul 27, 2016

Butte, Mont. – July 27, 2016 – NorthWestern Energy will make repairs at Black Eagle Dam in Great Falls, a project that will require a five-foot drawdown of the reservoir behind the dam from August 3-12, 2016.

While the drawdown will be noticeable upstream from dam as the shoreline extends out into the reservoir, it is expected to have minimal impact on upstream recreation. Water levels at Broadwater Bay are not expected to see significant change during the drawdown.

The drawdown will be gradual as NorthWestern works to limit turbidity and any possible shore erosion. NorthWestern Energy has a detailed drawdown plan that was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in 2009. NorthWestern is licensed by FERC to operate Black Eagle and its other hydroelectric dams in Montana.

The drawdown will allow NorthWestern to remove and replace five rows of flash boards that are part of the spillway at Black Eagle Dam. The boards have been damaged over time due to exposure to water, ice, debris and other natural elements. The damaged flash boards allow leakage, which results in lost generation at the dam.

The drawdown will also allow for the repair of concrete upstream of the power house and the dam.

The drawdown will begin at 8 a.m. on Aug. 3 and water levels are expected to return to normal levels on or before Aug. 12. Crews will work during the weekend to complete the project in a timely fashion. NorthWestern will work to minimize any disruption from the project.

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About NorthWestern Energy

NorthWestern Energy provides electricity and natural gas in the Upper Midwest and Northwest, serving approximately 701,000 customers in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska.  More information on NorthWestern Energy is available on the company's website at

Media Contact:
Butch Larcombe
(866) 622-8081

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