The last place you might expect young fish to begin their lives is next to a paper mill, but 12,000 trout do that every year in the clean waters next to Weyerhaeuser's Johnsonburg mill. Now that unique nursery has caught the attention of the American Forest & Paper Association, which awarded the mill the 2004 Forest Management Award for its Cooperative Fish Nursery on Sept. 22 in Austin, Texas.
"Through this project, Weyerhaeuser is demonstrating exactly what it means to be a good neighbor," said W. Henson Moore, AF&PA President and Chief Executive Officer. "As a result, mill discharges are down, the Clarion River is cleaner and fishing has vastly improved. We are very proud to present this award to Weyerhaeuser and congratulate all those involved in making this project such a success."
The outreach and collaboration in the Cooperative Fish Nursery are consistent with the principles of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI) program. Weyerhaeuser is the only company in Pennsylvania directly involved as a sponsor in the nursery program. The project is a joint effort of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission's cooperative nursery program and Weyerhaeuser.
In operation since 1992, the Cooperative Fish Nursery annually raises 12,000 brook, brown and rainbow trout, which are stocked in waters approved by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
Accepting the award on behalf of the Johnsonburg fine paper mill was Rick Zelehoski, a 31-year employee, who had the original idea for the nursery. He had always been interested in raising fish and had visited other nurseries in the state to see their feeding programs and facility operations. During his day-to-day work as a maintenance mechanic in an abandoned section of the mill's raw water treatment plant, he came up with the concept to convert the old building into a fish nursery.
"It means a lot to receive this kind of recognition, but the award really reflects back to the folks who do all the work; like Bob Mosier, our nursery manager," said Zelehoski. "The Cooperative Fish Nursery would not be possible without people devoting their time to it."
Also in attendance from Weyerhaeuser Company were Cassie Phillips, vice president, sustainable forestry, Federal Way, Wash.; Jim Stark, director, environmental education, Springfield, Ore.; and Kevin Godbout, director, environmental and regulatory affairs, Federal Way.
The nursery design is two 4 feet by 80 feet concrete raceways supplied by pumps that deliver water from the east branch of the Clarion River. Due to the resourceful people involved in the project, the raceways have continuous pH and temperature monitoring and a spare inlet water pumping system.
The Weyerhaeuser Fish and Game Club, made up of mill employees and retirees, manage the nursery. Club members handle daily upkeep, feeding, and decide the annual allotment to area streams or events such as fishing derbies. Some years it has provided the largest fish of any of the state cooperative nursery operations, primarily due to the cold-water temperatures in the east branch of the Clarion River.
"Your contribution to the restoration of the Clarion River is a shining example of the many excellent programs developed by AF&PA members in support of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative program and conservation," Moore added.
Tour groups include school students, Special Olympics, Big Brother/Big Sister and Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. The nursery also plays an important role in educating the public and government officials. Mill tours usually end with a walk-through of the nursery, emphasizing the mill's dedication to environmental responsibility and its contribution to recreational activities and area sportsmen.
The Johnsonburg facility has the capacity to produce more than 350,000 tons of fine paper annually. Its two machines produce business paper for copiers, envelopes, and offset printing, as well as commercial printing paper used in such items as financial reports and hardcover books. The Harry Potter book series is also printed on paper produced at Johnsonburg.
Weyerhaeuser Company employs more than 900 people at six locations in Pennsylvania. In addition to the Johnsonburg mill, there are fine-paper converting plants in Dubois and Langhorne, a hardwood lumber facility in Titusville, and customer service centers in Ephrata and Murrysville. The company also donates nearly $100,000 a year in the state through its charitable giving organization, the Weyerhaeuser Company Foundation.
Weyerhaeuser Company, one of the world's largest integrated forest products companies, was incorporated in 1900. In 2003, sales were $19.9 billion. It has offices or operations in 18 countries, with customers worldwide. Weyerhaeuser is principally engaged in the growing and harvesting of timber; the manufacture, distribution and sale of forest products; and real estate construction, development and related activities. Additional information about Weyerhaeuser's businesses, products and practices is available at http://www.weyerhaeuser.com/ .
For more information contact:
Kathy Stacey 580-981-1431 or 580-212-0289 (cell)
Ron King 814-965-6211
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SOURCE: Weyerhaeuser Company
CONTACT: Kathy Stacey, +1-580-981-1431, or cell, +1-580-212-0289, or Ron
King, +1-814-965-6211, both of Weyerhaeuser Company
Web site: http://www.weyerhaeuser.com/