> Plum Creek Brings Suit to Protect Native Fish Habitat Conservation Plan from
> Environmental Groups' Claims
> 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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> 08/09/2002 14:57 EASTERN
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