Generating capacity: 19 megawatts
7150 Hauser Dam Road
Helena, MT 59602
Hauser Dam is a six-unit hydroelectric plant on the Missouri River, about 14 miles northeast of Helena, Mont. The units have a total generating capacity of 19 megawatts. (One megawatt can satisfy the average energy needs of 750 households.)
Hauser Dam, which began operation in 1911, is 720 feet long and 111 feet high. Its reservoir is 14 miles long and has a storage capacity of 64,253 acre-feet when combined with nearby Lake Helena’s usable storage capacity. The dam is classified as a “run-of-river” project because it can generate electricity using the water that flows down the river, without the need to store additional water supplies.
Hauser Dam is one of eight hydroelectric plants and one reservoir along the Missouri and Madison rivers covered under PPL Montana’s Project 2188 operating license. Through this license, PPL Montana works with state and federal agencies and private groups to implement a diverse array of environmental stewardship projects to protect habitats on or near the banks of the Missouri and Madison Rivers.
The dam has a security gate for full-time recreational pedestrian access to allow recreationists to get to the other side of the river, which is virtually inaccessible by other means.
PPL Montana contributed $1.4 million to acquire, design and develop White Sandy Beach at Hauser Dam. The company also has contributed a total of $400,000 to expand the dam’s causeway and reconstruct the access site. In addition to its initial contributions, PPL Montana continues to provide $50,000 a year for the operation and maintenance of recreational sites at Hauser Dam.
Hauser Reservoir and nearby Lake Helena are popular sites for recreational activities such as fishing and hiking. Numerous campgrounds dot the river above and below the dam. PPL Montana’s Holter Dam, located 29 miles downstream, offers additional recreational opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts.