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Hebgen dam on the Madison River

Hebgen Dam flow increasing May 26 to enhance Madison River trout spawning gravel

Date: May 19, 2023

Butte, Mont. – May 19, 2023 – NorthWestern Energy will increase the volume of water releases from Hebgen Dam to flush fine sediments from Madison River gravel to enhance the quality of spawning gravels that support the healthy wild trout fishery.

Hebgen Dam outflows will gradually increase over several days to coincide with peak runoff in the West Fork Madison River and other tributary streams.

The flow release increase is planned to begin May 26 and will continue through the end of May. River recreationists should be aware of the changing conditions and take appropriate precautions. 

The Madison River Flushing Flow Program is designed to augment natural river flows with surplus water in good snowpack years.

The 2023 flushing release from Hebgen Dam is a cooperative effort planned by: NorthWestern Energy; Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks; Montana Department of Environmental Quality; the U.S. Bureau of Land Management; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and the U.S. Forest Service.

To protect the outlet of Quake Lake from erosion, the Madison River flows will be maintained at about 3,500 cubic feet per second at the Kirby Ranch stream gage.

NorthWestern Energy owns and operates Hebgen and Madison dams on the Madison River under a license issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

For questions about the flushing release, contact NorthWestern Energy Manager Hydro License Compliance Andy Welch at 406-444-8115 or

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NorthWestern Energy - Delivering a Bright Future

NorthWestern Energy provides essential energy infrastructure and valuable services that enrich lives and empower communities while serving as long-term partners to our customers and communities. We work to deliver safe, reliable, and innovative energy solutions that create value for customers, communities, employees, and investors. We do this by providing low-cost and reliable service performed by highly-adaptable and skilled employees. We provide electricity and / or natural gas to approximately 764,200 customers in Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Yellowstone National Park. We have provided service in South Dakota and Nebraska since 1923 and in Montana since 2002.

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