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IP Donates Bussey Brake, Wham Brake Reservoirs to LDWF

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International Paper, Memphis, Tenn., USA, announced this week that it will donate more than 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 $7.8 million-plus. The fresh water reservoirs located near Bastrop, La., 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 SVP. "We are excited to be able to make this announcement today."

LDWF Secretary Robert Barham added that "preserving fish and game habitat for public use is a key component in the department's conservation mission. 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-1950s by IP to serve as an alternative water source for the Louisiana Mill. IP 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 1950s 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.


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