Montana Dam to Add Hydro


Clark Canyon Hydro has received a new original license to add hydropower to an existing dam on the Beaverhead river in Beaver County, Montana.

Clark Canyon Hydro plans to add two turbines with a combined generating capacity of 4.7 MW. The dam owned by the Bureau of Reclamation is currently being used for flood control and water conservation. The proposed hydropower project will operate in a run-of-release mode with no daily storage. The project will use the normal, regulated flow releases, which range from 87.5 to 700 cfs.

As part of license conditions, Clark Canyon Hydro must: 

  • enter into a construction, operation, and maintenance agreement with Reclamation
  • consult with, and receive approval from, Reclamation for those facilities that would be an integral part, or could affect the structural integrity or operation of the federal reservation
  • not impair the structural integrity or operation, of the federal facilities
  • revegetate all newly disturbed lands with indigenous plant species within six months of completion of project construction
  • have no claim against the United States arising from any change in operation of the federal facility
  • recognize the primary right of any Reclamation activity or the fulfillment of Indian water rights taking precedence over project hydropower activities
  • provide to the Commission’s Regional Engineer  copies of all correspondence between Clark Canyon Hydro and Reclamation
  • provide Reclamation the opportunity to review and approve the design of contractor-designed cofferdams, blasting, and deep excavations, and 
  • acknowledge that the timing, quantity, and location of water releases and release changes from the facilities would be at the sole discretion of Reclamation.


The Clark Canyon dam was completed in 1964 as part of Reclamation’s Pick-Sloan Missouri River Basin Program, East Bench Unit, which was authorized by the Flood Control Acts of 1944.