SEATTLE, Aug 9, 2002 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Plum Creek Timber Company, Inc.,(NYSE:PCL) today announced the filing of a lawsuit to protect its Native FishHabitat Conservation Plan (NFHCP), from organizations seeking to invalidate theplan.
Plum Creek said its action is a direct result of a June 12, 2002 letter from thePacific Rivers Council, Trout Unlimited, and Montana Trout Unlimited announcingtheir intent to bring legal action to invalidate the NFHCP, which was approvedby the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the National Marine FisheriesService (NMFS) in 2000. Plum Creek has taken this action to obtain judicialconfirmation that the Services were correct in approving the NFHCP.
Plum Creek emphasized that although today's action names two federal agencies asdefendants, it was the unjustified claims by the three environmentalorganizations that prompted the lawsuit. "Plum Creek's NFHCP is one of the mostcomprehensive ecosystem-based stream protection and restoration plans in thecountry," said Plum Creek CEO Rick R. Holley, "and it has changed our harvestpractices in the Northwest. It has also added significant costs in terms of bothexpensive new procedures and in trees left uncut in wider buffer areas aroundriparian zones. Our practices are well beyond those required by state andfederal law and if any legal issues exist, we want them resolved as quickly aspossible."
"The Plan is based on the best scientific research available, as well as inputfrom over 100 meetings with the interested public, academic institutions, stateand federal government officials, and environmental organizations includingTrout Unlimited and Pacific Rivers Council," added Holley. "We are encouragedthat the federal agencies have continued to support these efforts. It wouldindeed be unfortunate if this model were to be invalidated and stop othercompanies from following Plum Creek's example of entering into innovativeconservation plans."
After nearly two years of implementation, the NFHCP is already making adifference for fish in Montana, Idaho and Washington:
- Over 58 miles of roads near streams have been permanently closed andreplanted.
- New standards for fish passage are required for all stream crossinginstallations on new roads, and fish passage is being assessed and enhanced forstream crossings on existing roads.
- Wider streamside buffers are now used when harvesting adjacent to streamsthat are important to fish -- these buffers are "custom fit" to stream channelconditions and fish habitat requirements.
- Enhanced erosion control practices for roads are now being implemented atevery new stream crossing to minimize sediment delivery.
- Over 3000 miles of old roads have been upgraded to meet NFHCP drainagestandards since 1998, when Plum Creek began to implement the "enhanced BestManagement Practices" described in the Plan.
- Scientific monitoring began last summer and continues -- including fishsampling, assessment of in-stream habitat conditions, installation of 40sediment tubs to measure erosion from roads and establishment of over 200 dataloggers to measure stream temperatures at 25 harvest sites near streams.
- As a direct result of NFHCP incentives, over 55 miles of riverfront propertyon the Thompson and Fisher Rivers have been permanently protected fromdevelopment in the largest conservation easement in Montana's history.
Plum Creek Timber Company is one of the largest land owners in the nation, with7.8 million acres of timberlands in every major timber region of the UnitedStates and ten wood product mills in the Northwest.
More information on Plum Creek Timber Co. may be accessed at:http://www.businesswire.com/cnn/pcl.shtml.
Plum Creek Timber Co.
Robert J. Jirsa, Director, Corporate Affairs
Robin C. Wood, Corporate Affairs Specialist
Copyright (C) 2002 Business Wire. All rights reserved.