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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, clean 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 millions of acres of timberlands we own and manage in North America 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

Sustainable forestry practices play a crucial role in maintaining our forests' ability to capture and filter water and they ensure our harvesting practices safeguard water quality. 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. 

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 habitat as well as water quality. 

Our operations are supported by robust research and monitoring programs to ensure forest management practices do not have an impact on water quantity or 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

Using science to measure our roads' effect on streams

A new study on the effects of logging roads in the northern Oregon Coast Range shows that our efforts to protect streams, fish and other aquatic critters are working.

The joint study, led by Oregon State University and the U.S. Forest Service and also involving scientists from Weyerhaeuser and the Oregon Department of Forestry, measured our roads' effect on streams during three different periods: prior to harvesting, during harvesting and after harvesting ended. The team of scientists found the amount of sediment in streams during all three phases to be biologically insignificant.

The road building study is one piece of the long-term Trask Watershed Study examining the effects of forest management practices on fish and aquatic ecosystems. 

Read more


WATER USE AT OUR MILLS

Because our forests rely on rainwater to grow, external water use at our company is only relevant to our wood products manufacturing 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. The 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, our wood products manufacturing facilities reduced their total water consumption by 2 percent from the prior year.

View our water use data