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Secretary Gale Norton & International Paper Sign Landmark Environmental Agreement to Protect and Manage Aquatic Resources

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MEDIA ADVISORY

May 20, 2004

Contact:
Tom MacKenzie, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, (404) 679-7291
Rick Ouellette, International Paper, (912) 238-6399


WHO:

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton
George O’Brien, International Paper, Senior Vice President-Forest Products.

WHAT:

Signing ceremony & boat tour
First-ever Aquatic Resources Conservation and Management Partnership Agreement.

WHEN:

Wed., May 26, 11:00 a.m.

WHERE:

Butler Island (outside Darien, Ga.)

WHY:

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 the ceremony.

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.

Directions:

From Savannah:
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).

From Jacksonville:
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).


For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, visit our home page at http://southeast.fws.gov/ or http://www.fws.gov/.



NOTE: You can view our releases or subscribe to receive them -- via e-mail -- at the Service's Southeast Regional home page at http://southeast.fws.gov. Our national home page is at: http://news.fws.gov/newsreleases/.

Atlanta, GA 30345
Phone: 404/679-7289 Fax: 404/679-7286

   

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