Gale Norton & International Paper Sign Landmark Environmental Agreement
to Protect and Manage Aquatic Resources
May 20, 2004
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, (404) 679-7291
Rick Ouellette, International Paper, (912) 238-6399
of the Interior Gale Norton
George O’Brien, International Paper, Senior Vice President-Forest
ceremony & boat tour
First-ever Aquatic Resources Conservation and Management Partnership
(outside Darien, Ga.)
This landmark environmental
partnership is expected to significantly improve freshwater ecosystems
across the Southeastern United States. The 10-year agreement, representing
a significant commitment to conserve unique freshwater ecosystems,
covers 5.5 million acres of International Paper forestlands in nine
Southern states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana,
Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Through
an unprecedented partnership between International Paper, the largest
private landowner, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, extensive
ecological surveys will be conducted and conservation measures implemented
to recover imperiled aquatic species. Nearly one-third of the 500
native fishes in the Southern states are considered imperiled. There
are about 270 species of mussels in the Southeast and about 75 percent
of those species are in need of some form of conservation. The Aquatic
Resources Conservation and Management Partnership Agreement lays
the groundwork for future conservation of aquatic species in other
habitats across the United States. Other U.S. Fish & Wildlife
Service regions in other parts of the country have already expressed
an interest in signing and implementing similar agreements.
The signing will take place
Wed., May 26, 11:00 a.m. on Butler Island, located on the banks of
the Altamaha River hosted by The Nature Conservancy at its Southeast
Georgia Conservation Office. Lunch will be served immediately following
Following the signing,
Media are invited to a boat tour/photo op with VIPs featuring the
Secretary, International Paper & University of Georgia (Athens)
biologists work with short-nose sturgeon on the Altamaha River.
Limited seating. To reserve
a place on the boat, please RSVP Rick Ouellette, International Paper,
(912) 238-6399 by Tuesday 5:00 pm.
Take I-95 South to Exit 49 (Darien/outlet exit). Go east (left) to
Highway 17. Turn south (right) on Highway 17. Pass through Darien.
Cross two bridges. The Nature Conservancy is located on the right
after the second bridge (large, white three-story plantation home).
Take I-95 North to GA Exit 42 (Highway 99). Go east (right) to Highway
17. Turn north on Highway 17 (left). Cross two bridges. The Nature
Conservancy is located on the right after the second bridge (large,
white three-story plantation home).