MTPR

Energy Keepers Inc

Hydroelectric dams like the Salish Ksanka Qlispe Dam in Polson worry invasive mussels could clog up energy production.
Corin Cates-Carney

Hydropower is a big resource in Montana. It accounted for almost a third of the state’s net electricity generation in 2015. Floods and droughts are always on dam managers’ minds, but lately, energy producers are also worried about tiny, non-native mollusks that could wreak havoc on Montana’s hydropower facilities.


Hydroelectric dams like the Salish Ksanka Qlispe Dam in Polson worry invasive mussels could clog up energy production.
Corin Cates-Carney

The tribal corporation that took ownership of Kerr Dam (now called Séliš Ksanka QÍispé) just over a month ago hosted an open house explaining the change in ownership.

When Energy Keepers Incorporated of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes took over the dam in early September it became the first major hydroelectric generation facility owned by native tribes. That raised interest from politicians and policy influencers around the state. About a dozen showed up at the dam Wednesday for a tour.

Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes

$18.3 million dollars - that's the price an arbitration panel has set for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes to buy Kerr Dam near Polson from PPL Montana. It's a price close to what the tribes think is fair, and well below what PPL was asking.
    The panel's decision paves the way for the Salish and Kootenai to become the first tribe in the country to own a major hydroelectric facility. Brian Lipscomb is CEO of Energy Keepers - the tribal corporation involved in the dam negotiation and eventual operation. 

photo courtesy Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes

If all goes as planned, in September 2015, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes will be the first tribes in the country to own a major hydroelectric facility.