A Degraded Montana Dam’s Desperate Need for Repairs Addressed
If you were 108 years old and had to survive an earthquake among other ordeals, you'd deserve repair work, too.
A storm of controversy arose over the erratic flow of the dammed waters of one of Montana's most popular rivers. And the company who was taken to task over it is addressing its long-awaited repair needs.
According to Montana Grant with the Montana Outdoor Radio Show, Northwestern Energy has announced that it will repair the damaged Hebgen Dam, which holds back the Madison River, and whose malfunctions have caused both de-watering and flooding. One of the most recent shutdowns had a devastating effect on the Madison's fish populations.
As you may recall, in November of 2021, many local area volunteers joined forces with authorities and did everything they could to help get trout and other species into waters deep enough in which to survive, after a broken coupling in the dam failed. With the gate unable to open and release water for nearly two days, the Madison nearly ran dry.
Some of the fish that were rescued in shallows were moved into remaining channels. Others were trapped in dried up puddles. While it was a noble effort to save fish, many of them died.
Northwestern Energy is replacing all the Hebgen Dam couplings with more durable parts. Other issues being addressed include installation of a dam alarm system and a cable backup support system.
The estimated time frame for the project is three weeks, starting in early August. Madison River water flows will remain consistent during the repairs, but with divers, mechanics and engineers among others at the site, the area will be closed to the public for safety reasons.
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