Mead WestVaco is launching a project aimed at improving trout management and reproduction on their lands in
Company biologist and forester Aaron Plaugher says the company has about 500-miles of streams in their
"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
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
"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."