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NorthWestern to Hold Public Meetings in Ennis and Bozeman on Hebgen Dam Rehabilitation Project

Jun 20, 2016

Butte, Mont. – June 20, 2016 – NorthWestern Energy has scheduled two public meetings to provide updates on the ongoing rehabilitation of Hebgen Dam on the Madison River near West Yellowstone.

  • In Ennis, the meeting is set for Wednesday, June 29 at 7 p.m. at the fire station.
  • In Bozeman, the meeting is set for Thursday, June 30 at 7 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn.

NorthWestern officials will be joined at the meetings by representatives from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the U.S. Forest Service. Topics to be addressed include updates on the scope and timing of current and future phases of the rehabilitation project and biological information related to the work. There will be an opportunity for questions from the public related to the Hebgen project.

The only reservoir with active storage upstream of Canyon Ferry, Hebgen plays a key role in the generation of clean, carbon-free energy on the Madison-Missouri system from not only NorthWestern Energy’s downstream hydroelectric plants but also multiple federally owned hydro projects.

The presence of the dam and reservoir provides an enhanced tail-water, blue-ribbon trout fishery in the upper Madison River, due to lower river temperatures and higher flows that would not occur without the project. Since the Hebgen intake stop-log breach in 2008, increased river temperatures using dam spillway versus dam intake flow has caused modest changes in the stream insect community and may have reduced angler catch rates in the most upstream reaches of the upper Madison, based on reports from guides and outfitters. However, trout size or population have not been adversely affected in the upper river.

In 2009, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) required safety repairs to the Hebgen Dam intake, spillway and outlet pipeline to meet current dam-safety standards and reflect advances in earthquake seismology. When these safety repairs are complete in 2017, the upper Madison River is expected to return to pre-repair conditions.

From 2009 through 2017, more than $40 million will have been spent rehabilitating the structures at Hebgen Dam.

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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

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