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West Virginia DNR and Plum Creek expand state's first and oldest public-private partnership to improve trout fishing
LEWISBURG, W. Va. - The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) and Plum Creek today announced they are expanding a public-private partnership effort to increase the state's trout population and extend its range. With the expansion, the effort will now focus on enhancing the quality of 51.6 miles of streams on Plum Creek land and many more miles 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. The 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.

"We are very excited to continue and expand the partnership between Plum Creek and the West Virginia DNR," said Steve Yeager, senior resource manager for Plum Creek's West Virginia operations. "Our teamwork has produced remarkably successful results, and we hope to breed even more success in the future."

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.

"As we head into the height of fishing season and with liming just under way for this year, the expansion of the program comes at the right time," said DNR Director Frank Jezioro. "The long-term efforts of Plum Creek have made a huge positive difference in the surrounding aquatic habitats, and we are glad to help the effort expand."

According to Jezioro, past liming efforts by Plum Creek and the DNR have already 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.

As a participant in the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®), Plum Creek is committed nationally to conserving fish and wildlife through protection of aquatic and riparian habitats, and implementing species-specific wildlife management plans and cooperative conservation projects.

Plum Creek 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. For more information, visit www.plumcreek.com.