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small brandlWildlife and Habitat Protection


Our service territories are located in an exceptional natural environment. At NorthWestern Energy, we have the unique opportunity to live and work in areas that are often described as majestic and peaceful. From the mountains to the prairies, people visit our communities from all over the world to experience a taste of what we enjoy every day – clean air, clean water, beautiful scenery, abundant wildlife and scores of recreational opportunities.

While we work to deliver the power our customers need, we also work to protect our native birds that sometimes interact with our electric system. As stewards of this shared environment, we must balance our obligations as an electric utility with the needs of our service areas and the safety of its unique bird habitat.

Trumpeter Swan Release20170901

Over the past 13 years, one of the areas of focus has been on the restoration of a rare and extensive wetland/spring creek complex along O’Dell Creek, a tributary that enters the Madison River near Ennis. This vast wetland complex was ditched and drained in the 1950s to facilitate cattle grazing and hay production, resulting in the loss of hundreds of acres of productive wetlands and degradation of many miles of prime spring creek habitat.

NWE and its predecessor have invested more than $2 million in this project and worked with many state, federal and private partners to eliminate five miles of drainage ditches and restore more than 600 acres of wetlands and 12 miles of spring creek habitat. Project monitoring shows that the number of migratory bird species found in the O’Dell project area has doubled since restoration work began and the number of waterfowl species and broods has tripled. Trout numbers doubled two to four years after one area of the creek was restored. Trumpeter swans, a species that nearly went extinct in the U.S. 100 years ago, are being reintroduced into the restored O’Dell Creek wetlands. Over 250 wetland plant species are found in the O’Dell Creek restoration area, including five rare plant species.

Here is more information on a couple of projects the company is working on:
Madison River Protection, Mitigation and Enhancement 
Missouri River Flow Management


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