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Residents cautioned to stay out of Missouri River riverbed in area of Black Eagle Dam during reservoir water drawdown

Jul 17, 2019

GREAT FALLS, MT - On July 22, 2019 NorthWestern Energy will begin drawing down Black Eagle Reservoir upstream from Black Eagle Dam about 5 feet to repair damage from river debris during the high water in May and June. 

Flooding in the Dearborn and Sun rivers in late May sent large floating trees and other debris to the dam, which likely caused the damage.

“The damage did not impact the structural integrity of the dam, but it is making it difficult to seal equipment completely, which wastes water and causes inefficiency,” said NorthWestern Energy Hydro Plant Foreman Dereck Besich.

The reservoir water drawdown project will begin July 22 and continue until July 23. Maintenance work will occur July 24 and the reservoir will be back to full pool by the morning of July 26.

Members of the public should not enter the riverbed. Deep mud, slippery rocks and the short duration of the water drawdown will create safety hazards.

NorthWestern Energy conducted a similar maintenance drawdown at Black Eagle Reservoir in August 2016.

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About NorthWestern Energy (NYSE: NWE)
NorthWestern provides electricity and / or natural gas to approximately 726,400 customers in Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska. We have generated and distributed electricity in South Dakota and distributed natural gas in South Dakota and Nebraska since 1923 and have generated and distributed electricity and distributed natural gas in Montana since 2002. More information on NorthWestern is available on the company’s website at

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