The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) and Plum Creek recently announced the expansion of a public-private partnership effort to increase the state’s trout population and extend its range. The next phase will of the project will focus on enhancing the quality of 51.6 miles of streams on Plum Creek land and areas down-stream. The private timber company and state originally began the effort in 1999, and it since has grown and seen significant results.
Through the effort, Plum Creek performs stream liming, a process that usually begins in late March and involves adding limestone sand to the watershed over several months. The limestone sand reduces the acidity of the water caused by acid rain.
WV DNR conducts regular fish surveys of the streams and more through the partnership. Over the past 13 years, Plum Creek’s stream-enhancing project has resulted in a significant increase of the biomass of fish found in the watershed, including trout and other non-game species.
Plum Creek donates most of the limestone sand and maintains the many delivery sites needed to add the lime each year. The West Virginia DNR provides additional limestone sand, manages the streams as stocked or wild trout fisheries, monitors water quality and conducts research and stream surveys. Those reports and recommendations are then incorporated into Plum Creek’s forest management planning and activities.
The expansion was announced May 4, 2012, at the South Fork of the Cherry River and documented by the signing of a new partnership agreement between the state and Plum Creek. The project will now extend to include an additional 3.2 stream miles and two new liming stations.
According to DNR Director Frank Jezioro, restoration efforts have made a positive difference in the surrounding aquatic habitats. Liming efforts have resulted in the three-fold increase of fish biomass, which is the amount of living matter or aquatic life in the streams.
The DNR’s acid stream restoration program has received national attention, being highlighted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the 75th Anniversary of the Sport Fish Restoration Program.
Plum Creek is a participant in the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®), a national cooperative to conserve fish and wildlife through protection of aquatic and riparian habitats, and implementing species-specific wildlife management plans and cooperative conservation projects.
Plum Creek (www.plumcreek.com) is the largest and most geographically diverse private landowner in the nation with approximately 6.6 million acres of timberlands in major timber producing regions of the United States and wood products manufacturing facilities in the Northwest.
source: West Virginia Division of Natural Resources