BUTTE - According to NorthWestern Energy officials, Tuesday's drop in water levels in the Madison River was caused when a gate component on the Hebgen Dam failed, decreasing the opening for the outtake of water at the bottom of the gate.
In a press release, the company said there are no issues or risks to the intake or dam structure, but the gate malfunction interferes with NorthWestern Energy’s ability to control river flows.
NorthWestern Energy hydro engineers and personnel have been working around the clock to develop a repair plan, and are on-site this morning to restore gate functionality and river flows to the Madison River as quickly as possible, safely.
Water was released over the dam’s spillway yesterday, which added some flow to the outlet gate releases to provide a small increase to the river flow.
Equipment and crews will be at the site until the issue is resolved. The public should avoid the Hebgen Dam area.
Safety and restoring full water flow to the Madison River as quickly as possible for the fishery is NorthWestern Energy’s priority.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.