Missouri River Restoration and Recovery


This website constitutes an historical record of the MRRIC Charter Planning Group Process, which ended July 2008. For current information about the MRRIC stakeholder process, including how to apply for membership on the Committee, please go to http://www.mrric.org.

Western Area Power Administration
Upper Great Plains Region
Projects and Activities in the Missouri River Basin

Agency Authority, Jurisdiction, and Responsibility

The Western Area Power Administration (Western), on the web at www.wapa.gov, was established by legislation on December 21, 1977, by the Department of Energy Organization Act. Western is one of four Power Marketing Administrations within the U.S. Department of Energy. Western markets and transmits about 10,000 megawatts of power from 56 hydropower plants that are owned and operated by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. State Department's International Boundary and Water Commission. Western markets power in a service area that covers 1.3 million square miles in 15 states. Western's customers include municipalities, co-operatives, public utility and irrigation districts, Federal and State agencies, investor owned utilities, and Native American Tribes.

Two Western regions, the Upper Great Plains Region and the Rocky Mountain Region, market power for the Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Program. The Upper Great Plains Region markets power from dams on the Missouri and Big Horn Rivers and sells and provides transmission for more than 10 million kWh in an average water year. Western’s Upper Great Plains Region serves over 300 customers across more than 378,000 square miles with about 7,918 miles of Federal Transmission lines.

This power is enough to serve more than three million households. The Upper Great Plains delivers this hydropower through over 100 high voltage substations and over 300 related facilities in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, and Minnesota. Western offers transmission capacity in excess of the capacity it requires for the delivery of long-term, firm capacity and energy to current contractual electrical service customers in accordance with the Open Access Transmission Services Tariff. The Tariff was promulgated in accordance with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission orders that implemented provisions of the Energy Policy Act.

Endangered Species Act Compliance

Western has been actively involved to protect conserve and assist the recovery of endangered species. The "Pallid Sturgeon Recovery Plan" was published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1993. Western has provided over $5 million to fund research, hatcheries, and other recovery projects through the Upper Missouri River Pallid Sturgeon Recovery Task Group. Federal and State biologists have formed a Task Group that annually prioritizes identified projects for funding.

Western also has a legal obligation to ensure its actions comply with Section 7 consultation requirements of the Endangered Species Act. Western routinely consults with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for transmission and generation projects that interconnect with Western's transmission system.

Basin Wide Cooperation and Collaboration

Western has been actively involved with organizations in the Missouri River Basin Group. Western staff has served as liaison and ex-officio members to the Missouri River Basin Association and the Missouri River Natural Resources Council and has provided staff as members of the Upper Missouri Pallid Sturgeon Recovery Task Group.

Western participated as a "cooperating agency" in the Corps of Engineers Master Water Control Manual Environmental Impact Statement. Western has recently been given additional congressional direction in the Energy Policy Act related to energy development in the Pick-Sloan hydropower marketing area.

For comments or questions about this website, please contact: usiecr@ecr.gov. This page was last updated 7/17/2019.