Paper360 - November/December 2009 - (Page 16)

PROUD TO BE A PAPERMAKER BUCKEYE TECHNOLOGIES Buckeye turns LEMON TO LEMONADE KEN PATRICK Wetlands project “rebuilds” headwaters of Fenholloway River, perpetuates restoration and helps foster continued development in Florida’s Big Bend area resemble its natural state, and involves re the restoration of 6,748 acres of freshwater th wetlands within an area known as the San w Pedro Bay. These wetlands, several miles P north of the Foley mill, form the origin or n headwaters of the Fenholloway River. The h natural function of these headwaters had n been disturbed by channeling and drainb age activities associated with silvicultural ag practices (slash pine plantations) in the p early 1950s. ea Today, roughly two-thirds complete, the project represents a commitment by th Buckeye of more than US$ 2 million, inB cluding US$ 500,000 for project developcl ment and permitting and US$ 1.5 million m for implementation. To help offset these fo costs, the company is generating wetland co mitigation credits that have a potential m market value as high as US$ 40 million. The headwaters of the Fenholloway River have now been significantly restored and biodiversity is rapidly returning to the area. The river flow rate has been considerably stabilized and it has been upgraded to a Class III fishable and swimmable designation. Based on its accomplishments, Buckeye recently received AF&PA’s 2009 Environmental and Energy Achievement Award. John Crowe, Buckeye CEO hen Buckeye Cellulose (today Buckeye Technol Technologies, Inc.) acquired the Foley kraft pulp mill near Perry, FL, USA, from its former Procter and Gamble parent in 1993, it committed to helping upgrade the nearby Fenholloway River’s state classification from Class V Industrial Use to Class III (fishable and swimmable) water quality standards. Working closely with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), Buckeye launched the Fenholloway Restoration Initiative in 1997, creating the San Pedro Bay Wetlands Mitigation Bank (SPBWMB) in 2002, and representing one of the most ambitious and important environmental restoration initiatives in Florida history. The SPBWMB project, a key component of the Fenholloway Restoration Initiative, is aimed primarily at improving the river’s flow characteristics to better W LEMON TO LEMONADE “Just looking at the situation in the 1990s, it seemed pretty clear that we would have to spend a lot of money to fix the headwaters,” said John Crowe, Buckeye CEO. “But our group was able to turn a lemon into lemonade. Not only were they able to do the right thing environmentally by restoring the headwaters and the river, they found a way to offset some of our costs and also to pave the way, environmentally, for other projects to come into the area.” According to Chet Thompson, environmental technology manager at Buckeye, earlier studies determined that wetlands were critical to the ecological functioning of water systems in the U.S., and a law was subsequently passed requiring no further net loss of wetland function. “So anytime developers, for example, plan projects that negatively affect wetlands, they’re required to mitigate by restoring or substituting in equal measure to the national, collective wetlands function.” At this stage in the San Pedro Bay project, Buckeye has generated roughly 250 mitigation credits or about 25 percent of what is possible. “We get initial credits by making physical changes, such as removing plantation trees, filling in or plugging ditches, and cutting out portions of roads that are blocking natural water flows (creating low water crossings). With each of these changes, there are predicted effects on water levels (site hydrology) and shifts in vegetation, with a return of certain mixes of both plant and animal species. As detailed monitoring shows these milestones being reached, additional credits are released. The changes or milestones have to be sustainable in a series of step or stage points, all which are carefully spelled out in our permits. Based on hitting all of our targets the first time, the earliest we could attain 100 percent of the credits would be 2020,” Thompson explains. The San Pedro Bay project is planned out in three distinct stages, which are not equal segments time-wise, acre-wise, or credit-wise, Thompson continues. The first phase involved removal of the plantation pine trees, which from an acreage viewpoint is about 75 percent complete, though this represents only two-thirds of the permit phase implementation. In Phases one and two, not all ditches and canals were filled in, but most were at least plugged. All of the low water crossings in the first two phases also have been completed. It would have been difficult or impossible to complete the tree removal if water levels had Paper360º November/December 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Paper360 - November/December 2009

Paper360 - November/December 2009
Over the Wire ... News Summary
Effluent Clean Enough to Drink
A Klass Act
Verso Awakens Maine
Twenty-Three Years of Bringing Students to the Industry
Marcal Rises From the Ashes
Buckeye Turns Lemon to Lemonade
Forty Years and "Still Doing It"
There's No Business Like Paper Business
Saving Energy at the Paper Machine
Low Alkali System Meets the Challenges of ONP/OMG Recycling
Around the Industry
Conquering Innovation Fatigue
Give Yourselves a Hand
Index of Advertisers

Paper360 - November/December 2009