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Verso Partners in Project to Identify and Map Vernal Pools

Memphis, Tennessee, USA 29 January 2014 -- (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Verso Paper Corp. (VRS) today announced a new, unique vernal pools project involving collaboration with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), the Michigan Forest Products Council (MFPC) and the Michigan Natural Features Inventory (MNFI), a program of Michigan State University Extension (MSUE). The project involves a targeted effort to identify and map vernal pools on state forest lands in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, a region where Verso procures wood for its paper and pulp production.

Vernal pools are small, temporary bodies of water that form in shallow depressions primarily in forested areas throughout Michigan and many other states. Because vernal pools are small, isolated, and dry for part of the year, they can be difficult to identify in the field, and easily overlooked and unintentionally damaged or destroyed. Vernal pools are important because they provide food, water and/or habitat for a number of animal and plant species, including several endangered, threatened or rare species in Michigan.

“Because fish do not exist in these pools, the lack of fish predation is why they are so important to many species of invertebrates that reproduce in the pools,” said Verso Fiber Supply Manager James Contino. “Verso seeks to promote responsibly managed forests and will encourage partners and suppliers to protect vernal pools as part of sustainable forest planning and harvesting efforts.”

The project, which began in December 2013 and will be completed by the end of 2014, will provide information that will help develop an effective and efficient approach for identifying and mapping vernal pools, including investigating the use of modeling and radar. The project will enhance the understanding of vernal pools’ distribution and ecology in Michigan and how to effectively identify, manage and conserve them.

About Verso

Verso Paper Corp. is a leading North American producer of coated papers, including coated groundwood and coated freesheet, and specialty products. Verso is headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, and owns paper mills in Maine and Michigan. Verso's paper products are used primarily in media and marketing applications, including magazines, catalogs and commercial printing applications such as high-end advertising brochures, annual reports and direct-mail advertising. Additional information about Verso is available on its website at www.versopaper.com.

About MDNR

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. Michigan citizens own 4.6 million acres of state land that is managed by the MDNR. The land is managed to protect Michigan’s natural and cultural resources, provide quality outdoor recreation opportunities, and foster regional economic prosperity.

About MFPC

The Michigan Forest Products Council (MFPC) is committed to protecting, promoting, and sustaining Michigan’s forest products economy by representing and advocating for Michigan’s entire forest product industry value chain. MFPC’s advocacy activity focuses on three strategic areas: supporting Michigan’s working forests, promoting business competitiveness, and ensuring sustainability. This includes working with municipal, state and federal leadership to shape science-based, economically sound policy; advocating for increased benefits to landowners; promoting family-sustaining employment and logger safety; and providing education on sustainable forest management practices. The Michigan Forest Products Council Foundation is a non-profit, 501c3 committed to the mission to educate and inform Michiganians about the benefits of sustainable management of Michigan’s natural forest resources.

About MNFI

The Michigan Natural Features Inventory (MNFI) is a program of Michigan State University Extension. It maintains the most comprehensive database on the location and condition of threatened, endangered, and other rare species, and high-quality natural communities in the state of Michigan. MNFI also engages in applied research for the conservation of biodiversity and provides conservation planning information to decision makers.

Forward-Looking Statements

In this press release, all statements that are not purely historical facts are forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Forward-looking statements may be identified by the words “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “project,” “plan,” “estimate,” “intend” and similar expressions. Forward-looking statements are based on currently available business, economic, financial and other information and reflect management’s current beliefs, expectations and views with respect to future developments and their potential effects on Verso. Actual results could vary materially depending on risks and uncertainties that may affect Verso and its business. For a discussion of such risks and uncertainties, please refer to Verso’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Verso assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statement made in this press release to reflect subsequent events or circumstances or actual outcomes.


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