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NorthWestern Energy Announces $1.2 Million in 2016 Funding for Fisheries, Wildlife and Habitat Projects on Madison and Missouri Rivers

Jan 18, 2016

Butte, Mont. – Jan. 18, 2016 – As part of its commitment to river stewardship and conservation, NorthWestern Energy (NEW) is providing $1.2 million this year to support 39 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 hydroelectric projects we operate on the Madison and Missouri Rivers” said Jon Jourdonnais, Leader, Hydro Licensing and Compliance for NorthWestern Energy.

“This effective 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 7 different government agencies, 16 private landowners, our two major state universities, and 6 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 NorthWestern will leverage an additional $1.4 million in matching funds and in-kind donations from agency and private partners, resulting in a total of $2.6 million for river resource stewardship. 

Habitat improvement on rivers and tributaries is a high priority for the program and projects are planned this year to improve aspen habitat near Quake Lake and aquatic habitat on 10 tributary streams from Hebgen Lake to Great Falls. A major project to restore wetland and aquatic habitat along 4,000 feet of O’Dell Creek near Ennis is planned, and funding will be provided to establish cottonwood habitat and build fences to better manage livestock grazing to improve sensitive riverside habitat in the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument.   

Recovery of endangered and sensitive species is another key part of the NWE programs and several projects were approved to enhance and monitor pallid sturgeon, trumpeter swans, Westslope cutthroat trout, and bald eagles.               

Fish and wildlife population monitoring is also an important part of this program.

“Monitoring is a huge challenge in such a large and diverse system, including nine reservoirs and more than 500 miles of river,” said Jourdonnais. “We provide substantial funding and work very closely with the state and federal agencies to maintain excellent long-term fish and wildlife databases which provide useful management information and gauge the overall health of the system”. 

More information about NorthWestern Energy and its hydroelectric facilities can be found at www.northwesternenergy.com. Keep up with NorthWestern Energy news on Facebook and on Twitter (@Northwestern_MT).

About NorthWestern Energy
NorthWestern Energy provides electricity and natural gas in the Upper Midwest and Northwest, serving approximately 692,600 customers in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska.  More information on NorthWestern Energy is available on the company's website at www.northwesternenergy.com.


Media Contact:
Butch Larcombe
(866) 622-8081
butch.larcombe@northwestern.com

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