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Conservationists Team with Tongass on Wildlife, Timber in Alaska

Collaboration will restore streams damaged by roads

Elizabeth Bluemink / Juneau Empire / June 8, 2005

One of the largest environmental conservation groups in the world has begun a partnership with the largest national forest in the country to work on timber and wildlife restoration projects, federal officials announced Tuesday.

The Nature Conservancy and Tongass National Forest officials have signed a five-year memorandum to collaborate on projects such as restoring streams damaged by logging roads and thinning second-growth trees.

"We have a long-standing relationship," said Dennis Neill, Tongass National Forest spokesman. The Nature Conservancy has worked with Alaska national forests on prescribed burns and land purchases.

Though The Nature Conservancy is better known for its land deals, some of which have attracted controversy elsewhere in the United States, the group also employs scientists who conduct ecological surveys and wildlife habitat restoration projects.

Gaining access to some of the scientific and technical expertise developed by The Nature Conservancy will be the partnership's biggest benefit to the Tongass, Neill said.

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