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Healthy, productive forests are some of nature's best water managers. The trees, plants and soil absorb falling rain and snow, allowing a forest to capture and slowly release clean water into the many streams, rivers and groundwater systems in its watershed.

We believe our world needs a clean and abundant water supply to sustain populations, support ecosystems and maintain a stable global economy.

We're in the right business to help meet this need. The more than 27 million acres of timberlands we own and manage worldwide are critical to providing clean water to communities downstream from our forests and to the larger water cycle. We don't take this responsibility lightly.

WATER STEWARDSHIP IN OUR FORESTS

We protect water quality by grading and maintaining roads to channel runoff to the forest floor (which keeps silt away from streams), building culverts and bridges to allow fish passage, and seeding exposed road banks with grasses to prevent erosion.

We also have robust research and monitoring programs in place to ensure forest management practices do not harm water quantity or quality.

Over the past few years, we've invested millions of dollars for road improvements in our western timberlands to separate our road network from the stream network, resulting in improved fish passage and habitat as well as water quality.

If you want to learn more about the connection between clean water and the forests around us, take a look at this video.


LIVING OUR VALUES

Building bridges for salmon to find their way

Last year, we worked with the Coos Watershed Association to help salmon make their way up a river.

Almost 60 years ago, in 1958, we needed to replace two bridges that crossed a loop (also called an oxbow) on the east fork of the Millicoma River. With approval from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, we removed the bridges and created a new channel in the river. This filled in the oxbow. At the time, it was thought the effect on salmon and other fish would be negligible.

It turns out the fish were having a hard time making it up the river.

Sometimes things do come full circle. The best option to remedy the situation was to rebuild the historical bridges and reconnect the oxbow, which we did. The new bridges were opened in 2016 and water is once again flowing through the oxbow.


WATER USE AT OUR MILLS

Since our forests rely on rainwater, water use at our company is only relevant at our wood products sites. Our past sustainability goals related to water use and water quality were focused on our former cellulose fibers business, which accounted for more than 90 percent of our water use. Our wood products sites use very little process water and water that is used is usually either recycled, evaporated or sent to the local publicly owned treatment works for treatment and discharge.

Although water use at our mills is no longer a significant topic, we continue to stay focused on reducing water use where possible, weighing product- and water-use requirements. In 2017, we'll reassess our water goals and metrics, ensure full alignment with our businesses, and make changes to reflect our current portfolio and operations. In 2016, our wood products manufacturing facilities reduced their total water consumption by 5 percent from the prior year.

View our water use data