Submitted: The Two Sides Team November 20, 2012
International Paper announced today that it will donate over 8,100 acres of land, which includes the Bussey Brake and Wham Brake reservoirs, to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF).
November 6 2012, International Paper
International Paper announced today that it will donate over 8,100 acres of
land, which includes the Bussey Brake and Wham Brake reservoirs, to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF). The total donation is valued at over $7.8 million.
The fresh water reservoirs located near Bastrop, Louisiana in Morehouse Parish are popular recreational sites. “This donation by International Paper will preserve these reservoirs for future generations to come for the citizens of Louisiana,” said Tommy Joseph, International Paper Senior Vice President. “We are excited to be able to make this announcement today.” “Preserving fish and game habitat for public use is a key component
in the department’s conservation mission,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham. “IP’s generous donation falls right in line with our public access initiatives.”
Bussey Brake, a 2,600-acre fresh water reservoir, was constructed in the mid 1950’s by International Paper to serve as an alternative water source for the Louisiana Mill. International Paper
owned 620 acres of the reservoir site with the remaining balance under
leases with third parties. Under terms of the donation, the leases will
be transferred to LDWF.
LDWF plans for Bussey Brake include a complete renovation of the
reservoir’s fish population. The impoundment will be drained and
allowed to dry completely. The current fish population will be removed
and the reservoir stocked with popular game fish including bass, bream,
catfish and crappie. Once re-stocked, the reservoir will be monitored
and managed with recreational fisheries a priority. The renovation
process will take three to five years to achieve success and the
resulting fish population, once established, would self-sustain as
healthy fisheries for several decades.
Wham Brake was also constructed in the 1950’s on IP lands though a joint effort with the U.S. Army Corp
of Engineers. The 5,550-acre reservoir will become part of the (21,948
acre) LDWF’s Russell-Sage Wildlife Management Area, providing
preservation of wildlife habitat for future generations. LDWF will
partner with Ducks Unlimited to initiate a hydrologic survey of Wham
Brake to determine a management strategy for this vitally important
waterfowl area. Planned site improvements include better hunter access
through additional boat launches and parking areas, improved water
delivery systems and more uniform moist soil management units creating
added acres of waterfowl habitat.