Land Restoration Efforts Create Wildlife Habitats in Johnsonburg

Driven by a passion for wildlife and a desire to leave a different kind of legacy, the Johnsonburg Mill found a perfect use for the nutrient-rich byproducts of the paper manufacturing process. Our land restoration efforts are bringing new life to the natural spaces in our Pennsylvania community.

For decades, Elk County, Pennsylvania, supplied coal to power the region and beyond, including our mill in Johnsonburg. But strip mining left behind scarred land, marked by acidic soils devoid of organic matter and nutrients — conditions that are not suitable for growing vegetation.

We converted both of the Johnsonburg Mill’s power boilers from coal to gas in late 2016, but our mill has a long history of helping to restore the land from which we once sourced fuel. For more than 20 years, Johnsonburg Mill has been using organic and nutrient-rich wastewater treatment residuals and acid-balancing lime residuals to rejuvenate old mine sites. The benefits of our land restoration efforts are wide-reaching:
•We’ve helped improve regional water quality by more effectively treating acid mine drainage.
•We’ve recreated the right environment for lush vegetation to grow, providing valuable food and cover for wildlife.
•We’ve found a long-term, cost-effective and eco-friendly solution to divert more than 95 percent of the mill’s byproducts from the landfill to more beneficial uses.

Today our land restoration project is blossoming, literally, with sunflowers and other blooming vegetation.

The success of this land restoration effort would not have been possible without the help of equally determined public and private nonprofit wildlife groups, such as the Pennsylvania Game Commission, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Pheasants Forever.
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