NorthWestern : Power and the Missouri-Madison River Fund Belief announce funding for 2022 public recreation enchancment initiatives


Butt, Mon. – April 11, 2022 – NorthWestern Energy and the Missouri-Madison River Fund announced that six projects to improve public recreation have been awarded grants and matching funds this year by the River Fund Trust and NorthWestern Energy.

Outdoor recreation along the Missouri and Madison Rivers remains high, and once again this funding is helping recreation managers improve and maintain visitor services to ensure recreation seekers have a positive experience while protecting Montana’s resources.

NorthWestern Energy’s funding of $74,537 and $248,133 from the Missouri-Madison River Fund will combine with $476,330 from agencies and project partners to complete six projects in 2022 totaling $799,000.

NorthWestern Energy will complement the funding by contributing an additional $504,626 to state, federal and local governments in 2022 for the operation and maintenance of many existing recreation areas. These efforts were incorporated into the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Project 2188 hydroelectric license in the 1990s to ensure that public recreation areas, facilities and opportunities remain available well into the future.

“The Missouri and Madison Rivers offer a wide variety of public recreation facilities and opportunities,” said Andy Welch, NorthWestern Energy Hydropower License Compliance Manager. “NorthWestern Energy is pleased to support the efforts of a team of cooperative agencies to manage these assets. Ongoing improvements will ensure that these opportunities exist for future generations. NorthWestern Energy and its employees are proud to continue to support this collaborative private-public effort to improve recreational facilities and opportunities along these great rivers.”

  • On the Madison River and Ennis Lake, 24 developed recreation areas maintained by the US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management will receive additional support from a Montana Conservation Corps crew for vault toilet cleaning and visitor education.

  • At Missouri Headwaters State Park near Three Forks, a park-wide hazardous tree pruning project is supported to ensure visitor safety.

  • In the Helena area, a shore stabilization project at Black Sandy State Park will include willow planting to stabilize an eroding shoreline that has reduced the size of the tented camping area. Engineering stairs will provide public access to the waterway amidst the willows along this coastal area.

  • At Great Falls, the North Bank Stabilization Project will address the shoreline along Black Eagle Reservoir that threatens a portion of the River’s Edge Trail and a major municipal sewer in Great Falls.

  • In the Great Falls area, the Lewis & Clark Overlook parking lot and part of the Rainbow Overlook parking lot will be reconstructed.

  • In the Great Falls area, the Rainbow Trailhead parking lot is being improved to allow for drainage and diversion of spring water runoff that has caused large potholes and frequent standing water on the property.

Projects funded in 2022 bring the total to 150 projects with $5.5 million in funding from the River Fund Trust and $1.4 million in matching funding from Northwestern Energy over the past 16 years.

River Fund grants and NorthWestern Energy’s Matching Funds have helped leverage funding from government agencies and partners to provide more than $11 million for public recreation improvements in the Missouri-Madison Corridor.

The Missouri-Madison River Public Recovery Fund Trust, currently valued at $8.1 million, was established through the combined efforts of NorthWestern Energy; Fish, Wildlife and Parks in Montana; US Forest Service; US Bureau of Land Management; Madison, Gallatin, Broadwater, Lewis & Clark, Cascade and Chouteau counties; and numerous other public and private partners.

The River Fund was established as a public-private partnership to meet public recreation needs along the Madison and Missouri Rivers. The River Fund supports ongoing efforts to protect and enhance the recovery of Hebgen Reservoir downstream to Fort Benton, excluding the Toston and Canyon Ferry hydroelectric power stations and the river segment between them. The River Fund’s Qualifying Project Awards will continue to be presented annually, with grants awarded in December of each year.

For a list of projects and information about NorthWestern Energy and its hydroelectric assets, see the River Fund section of the Clean Energy – Hydropower section of NorthWestern Energy’s website at

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About NorthWestern Energy (Nasdaq: NWE)

NorthWestern Corporation, operating as NorthWestern Energy, provides essential energy infrastructure and valuable services that enrich lives and strengthen communities while serving as long-term partners to our customers and communities. We work to provide safe, reliable and innovative energy solutions that create value for customers, communities, employees and investors. This includes bridging our history as a regulated energy provider, offering secure, cost-effective and reliable services, with our future as a global company offering a broader range of services delivered by highly adaptable and skilled people. We provide electricity and/or natural gas to approximately 753,600 customers in Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska and Yellowstone National Park. We have been providing services in South Dakota and Nebraska since 1923 and in Montana since 2002. For more information, visit the company’s website at

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