SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 9, 2002--Plum Creek Timber Company, Inc. today
announced the filing of a lawsuit to protect its Native Fish Habitat
Conservation Plan (NFHCP), from organizations seeking to invalidate the plan.
Plum Creek said its action is a direct result of a June 12, 2002 letter from
the Pacific Rivers Council, Trout Unlimited, and Montana Trout Unlimited
announcing their intent to bring legal action to invalidate the NFHCP, which
was approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the National
Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in 2000. Plum Creek has taken this action to
obtain judicial confirmation that the Services were correct in approving the
Plum Creek emphasized that although today's action names two federal agencies
as defendants, it was the unjustified claims by the three environmental
organizations that prompted the lawsuit. "Plum Creek's NFHCP is one of the
most comprehensive ecosystem-based stream protection and restoration plans in
the country," said Plum Creek CEO Rick R. Holley, "and it has changed our
harvest practices in the Northwest. It has also added significant costs in
terms of both expensive new procedures and in trees left uncut in wider
buffer areas around riparian zones. Our practices are well beyond those
required by state and federal law and if any legal issues exist, we want them
resolved as quickly as possible."
"The Plan is based on the best scientific research available, as well as
input from over 100 meetings with the interested public, academic
institutions, state and federal government officials, and environmental
organizations including Trout Unlimited and Pacific Rivers Council," added
Holley. "We are encouraged that the federal agencies have continued to
support these efforts. It would indeed be unfortunate if this model were to
be invalidated and stop other companies from following Plum Creek's example
of entering into innovative conservation plans."
After nearly two years of implementation, the NFHCP is already making a
difference for fish in Montana, Idaho and Washington:
-- Over 58 miles of roads near streams have been permanently closed and
-- New standards for fish passage are required for all stream crossing
installations on new roads, and fish passage is being assessed and enhanced
for stream crossings on existing roads.
-- Wider streamside buffers are now used when harvesting adjacent to streams
that are important to fish -- these buffers are "custom fit" to stream
channel conditions and fish habitat requirements.
-- Enhanced erosion control practices for roads are now being implemented at
every new stream crossing to minimize sediment delivery.
-- Over 3000 miles of old roads have been upgraded to meet NFHCP drainage
standards since 1998, when Plum Creek began to implement the "enhanced Best
Management Practices" described in the Plan.
-- Scientific monitoring began last summer and continues -- including fish
sampling, assessment of in-stream habitat conditions, installation of 40
sediment tubs to measure erosion from roads and establishment of over 200
data loggers to measure stream temperatures at 25 harvest sites near streams.
-- As a direct result of NFHCP incentives, over 55 miles of riverfront
property on the Thompson and Fisher Rivers have been permanently protected
from development in the largest conservation easement in Montana's history.
Plum Creek Timber Company is one of the largest land owners in the nation,
with 7.8 million acres of timberlands in every major timber region of the
United States and ten wood product mills in the Northwest.
More information on Plum Creek Timber Co. may be accessed at:
Plum Creek Timber Co.
Robert J. Jirsa, Director, Corporate Affairs
Robin C. Wood, Corporate Affairs Specialist
SOURCE: Plum Creek Timber
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