4/18/2008
AEP Forestry announces first tree farm for Texas

SWEPCO’s Welsh Power Plant property near Daingerfield, Texas will be home to AEP’s first tree farm in Texas, as community leaders, forestry officials and company employees gathered for a dedication ceremony at the plant in March 2008. The designated 1,000 acres at Welsh will be part of over 105,000 acres at AEP certified under the American Tree Farm System.
 
AEP’s first tree farm was established in Ohio and the goal is to promote timber health, sales and development of acreage for public use on over 250,000 acres across its 11 states. AEP has planted some 63 million trees since the late 1940s, and became part of the tree farm system in 1983. The Welsh plant sits on a 3,200-acre site and tree farm land management will occur along the shores of the 1,350-acre man-made lake built in the 1970s to serve the plant’s water needs.
 
Welsh employees also take part in a number of environmental stewardship projects, such as maintaining wood duck boxes on the lake, planting wildlife food plots and enhancing fish populations by sinking recycled Christmas trees. Each summer, the Welsh plant hosts teachers for the environmental sciences workshop put on by Texas A&M University.
“The tree farm certification promotes responsible forest stewardship and protests wildlife, soils and water,” adds Jennifer Meyer, AEP plant environmental coordinator at Welsh.
 
“Tree farms have existed in Texas since the 1940s, and there are over 12 million trees across 43 counties in the State, making it tops in the nation,” said Ron Hufford, executive vice president of the Texas Forestry Association, of which SWEPCO became a member this year. A volunteer committee inspects some 2,000 certified tree farms to make sure good stewardship practices are in place. “We welcome AEP to the Texas Tree Farm Program. “

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