Mead WestVaco Launches Stream Improvements


Mead WestVaco is launching a project aimed at improving trout management and reproduction on their lands in West Virginia

Company biologist and forester Aaron Plaugher says the company has about 500-miles of streams in their West Virginia lands where trout could thrive with a little help.    The DNR already treats some of those streams with limestone to reduce acidity.   Mead WestVaco has entered an agreement to move those liming operations further upstream, where the neutralization can be more effective.   Those headwaters lie on WestVaco property.

"DNR likes to lime as high into the streams as they can," said Plaugher.  "We own most of the 27-thousand acre watershed."

The first of these projects are on Laurel Creek of Cherry River.  Plaugher says the DNR sampled the water from 14 of those headwater streams and found four headwaters with a pH level below 6, the threshold for trout reproduction.

"We were able to treat additional 13-miles of the Laurel Creek system," Plaugher said. "Hopefully with that simple step we’ll be able to benefit the population to increase and get the native brook trout population to increase because those headwaters are where the trout run up into to spawn."

Liming is only part of the plan.  Plaugher says he and other Mead WestVaco personnel have been walking the streams with chainsaws, cutting trees to create woody debris in the water, forming pools and better hiding points for the fish.

"The streams really don’t have many large trees in there that are creating pools," Plaugher said. "We’re finding spots where we can put tree stems into the stream.  The water will back up behind that and spill over, creating a nice scouring pool."

Those pools are generally deeper and have more cover for fish to escape predators.

"They’re generally better than a boulder created pool you’ll find in a stream," said Plaugher.

Plaugher says this is a long-term project.  They are hoping to add additional streams as they are identified in the Mead WestVaco holdings in Greenbrier, Fayette, and Nicholas Counties.   He adds it fits with the company’s mission of being good stewards of the land while still effectively managing timber tracts.

"It always has been, whether it’s through our timber sales and everything we try to do here, we try to do responsibly," said Plaugher. "This is something we can do to try and benefit the trout and improve the overall outdoor experience for local sportsmen.

"One misconception is that our property isn’t open, but the large majority of our waters are open for public fishing," adds Plaugher. "It’s been that way and continues to be for fishing, digging ramps, picking black berries.  It’s still open to the public."


More Outdoors

Ready for free fishing weekend in West Virginia
The DNR hopes waiving license requirements for two days will encourage people to try fishing for the first time or at least try it again if they haven't been in a while. You could also give your kids a first fishing experience as part of the event.
June 7, 2023 - 10:06 am
W.Va. anglers qualify to advance in BASS event
For a fourth year in a row a West Virginian wins either the boater or non-boater top spot at the organization's regional championship event
June 6, 2023 - 1:58 pm
DNR Police ready for start of boating weekend
Memorial Day weekend typically kicks off the pleasure boating season, officers will be looking for break downs and violations on the waters of the Mountain State.
May 25, 2023 - 2:29 pm
Hunting is a family affair for the Shell family in Wyoming County
Buford and Lena Shell and their 11 year old son Levi all tag out during the spring gobbler season, for the second time in three years.
May 22, 2023 - 2:34 pm

Your Comments