DNR Agreement with Weyerhaeuser Aimed at Stream Improvements

River Rock

John McCoy
Limestone sand dumped directly into the headwaters of a stream has become the preferred method of treating water tainted by acid rain.

RICHWOOD, W.Va. — A long standing agreement between the Division of Natural Resources and a well known timber company will extend well into the future. The agency recently inked a new Memorandum of Understanding with Weyerhaeuser to conduct habitat restoration and stream water treatment on trout streams on the company’s property in West Virginia.

“The South Fork of Cherry property is a big tract of land and it actually makes Weyerhaeuser the largest private land owner of native brook trout streams in the state,” said David Thorn who oversees the DNR’s trout program.

“We have the agreement with them to put lime in a bunch of tributaries using the access they have in there. They have a lot of access from timbering activities and it gives us road access to get in there with trucks and dump limestone sand,” Thorn said.

The program has actually been happening for the past 20 years on the property. Weyerhaeuser purchased the property a few years ago and wants to continue to be supportive of restoration of the native brook trout and improvement of water quality.

“We put in probably a quarter million dollars over 20 years putting in both lime and making dump places on the stream,” said Steve Yeager with Weyerhaeuser.

Yeager said his company works to be “SFI Certified” meaning a Sustainable Forestry Initiative which requires constant inspections and monitoring of restoration work and reclamation activity.

“We try to do the best we can,” he said. “We get audited by a third party to make sure we’re doing the right thing on the land. We also do this for the community because there are a lot of people who fish on South Fork of the Cherry and some of these other streams.”

Thorn pointed out it’s not just their work which is being supported by Weyerhaeuser , the West Virginia Conservation Agency has done habitat improvement work on the large tract.

“They took about a mile of stream and did some large wood enhancements and improved pools,” he said.

Yeager said the treatment mainly happens on the South Fork of Cherry, the three Forks of the Gauley where the Gauley River is formed, and several smaller tributaries will all receive limestone sand treatment into the future. The treatments improve water quality for the native brook trout in the upper reaches of the waterways as well as in the downstream sections where stocking occurs.


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