Tyson to donate $60K to tri-state watershed project

Money to help develop Elk River Basin Management Plan for a watershed area that includes parts of Oklahoma, Missouri and Arkansas...

PINEVILLE, MO, May 14, 2005 (PRNewswire-FirstCall) -- Efforts to protect water quality in a watershed that serves parts of Oklahoma, Missouri and Arkansas are receiving the financial support of Tyson Foods Inc.

The company has made a commitment to donate $60,000 to the Elk River Watershed Improvement Association (ERWIA). The money will help the non-profit group design an improvement and management plan for the entire basin, which drains 870 square miles in northeast Oklahoma, southwest Missouri and northwest Arkansas. Tyson Foods officials made the announcement Saturday at the Association's Annual Earth Day Celebration and Water Festival.

"We're proud to support this group's efforts to protect the watershed, which is important to the thousands of people who live in the region, as well as others who come here to enjoy the waterways that are part of it," said Kevin Igli, chief environmental officer of Tyson Foods. "Our donation is also consistent with Tyson's Core Values, which call on us to serve as 'stewards' of the environment."

"We're thankful for Tyson's donation as well as the help the company's Noel poultry complex has provided since our group was formed two years ago," said Joseph Pease, president of ERWIA and an environmental manager for Tyson Foods. "Our Association is made up of people from various walks of life that share a love of the environment. Donations, such as the one provided by Tyson, are essential to our plans to take a pro-active, scientific approach to protecting the area's waterways."

The Association has been working in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey, which is using gauges to measure water quality and quantity at five watershed locations. These mechanical devices help track nutrients, bacteria, sediments and pollutants. The information collected is being used by the Association to identify environmental problems in the basin and subsequently work cooperatively with point and non-point sources to implement ways to correct them.

The Elk River Basin, which covers 483,000 acres in Missouri alone, includes Indian Creek, Little Sugar Creek, Big Sugar Creek, Buffalo Creek, the Elk River and their tributaries. The Elk River flows to the west, entering Grand Lake of the Cherokees north of Grove, Oklahoma. Approximately 60,000 people reportedly live in the Elk River Basin.

Tyson Foods Inc. (www.tyson.com), founded in 1935 with headquarters in Springdale, Ark., is the world's largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef, and pork and the second-largest food company in the Fortune 500. The company produces a wide variety of protein-based and prepared food products and is recognized as a market leader in the retail and foodservice markets it serves, providing products and service to customers throughout the United States and over 80 countries. Tyson has about 114,000 team members employed at more than 300 facilities and offices.

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