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NorthWestern Energy announces 2017 funding for fisheries, wildlife and habitat enhancement projects on Madison and Missouri Rivers

Jan 13, 2017

Butte, Mont – Jan. 13, 2017 -- As part of its commitment to river stewardship and conservation, NorthWestern Energy (NWE) is providing $1.3 million in 2017 to support 45 fisheries, wildlife and habitat improvement projects within the 550-mile corridor of the Madison-Missouri River from Yellowstone National Park to the headwaters of Fort Peck Reservoir.

“This stewardship program was initiated in 2000 in cooperation with state and federal resource agencies to monitor and offset effects from the nine hydro projects we operate on the Madison and Missouri Rivers” said Jon Jourdonnais, Leader of Hydropower License Compliance for NWE. 

“This long-term program is a great example of cooperation between state, federal and local government, private landowners and non-governmental organizations to meet river conservation objectives,” he said. “This year we will be collaborating with 12 different government agencies, six private landowners, our two major state universities, and nine different non-governmental conservation groups on a variety of projects. A big advantage is that we (NWE) provide private funds, which often qualifies as seed money to secure matching funds from already appropriated state and federal grant programs.”

This year’s funding from NWE will leverage an additional $1.5 million in matching funds and in-kind donations from agency and private partners, resulting in a total of $2.8 million for river resource stewardship. 

Habitat improvement on rivers and tributaries is a high priority for the program and several projects are planned this year to enhance and restore six miles of aquatic habitat on eight tributary streams from Hebgen Lake to Great Falls.  Another major project will restore wetland and aquatic habitat along 4,000 feet of O’Dell Creek near Ennis and restoration of riverside cottonwood groves in the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument.  Projects to reduce grizzly bear-human conflicts and enhance watering areas for wildlife away from recreational areas in the Hebgen Lake area will also be funded. 

Recovery of endangered and sensitive species is key part of the NWE programs and several projects are planned to enhance and monitor pallid sturgeon, trumpeter swans, westslope cutthroat trout, arctic grayling, and bald eagles.               

Funding will again be provided to the University of Montana to monitor population trends of migratory songbirds along the Madison and Missouri rivers. “Monitoring is a huge challenge in such a large and diverse system,” said Jourdonnais. “We provide substantial funding and work very closely with the state and federal agencies to collect long-term fish and wildlife information, which provides useful management information and helps us gauge the overall health of the river system.” 

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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