Lynchburg News and Advance 4/28/2013
Excerpt: “Apparently for the first time in America, the U.S. Forest Service is considering whether to allow horizontal drilling for natural gas, in the George Washington National Forest. Energy companies are saying “yes,” environmental activists are saying “no,” and governments are divided on whether roads, trucks and drilling equipment should be permitted in the national forest, a source of drinking water for 260,000 people.
More than 54,000 public comments have been made, and Virginians oppose the gas prospecting by at least a 2-1 margin, according to Kate Wofford of the Shenandoah Valley Network, an environmental advocacy group that analyzed the comments. …”
Read entire article at http://www.newsadvance.com/news/local/article_762f9d5c-af77-11e2-86f9-001a4bcf6878.html
Roanoke Times 3/23/2013
Excerpt: “SALT POND MOUNTAIN — On Friday a Virginia Tech research team working to stop destruction of Appalachia’s iconic hemlock trees unleashed a new microscopic weapon in the fight against the tree-killing woolly adelgid.
Tech entomology professor Scott Salom and graduate student Katlin Mooneyham seeded infested hemlocks on private property near Mountain Lake in Giles County with about 1,000 laboratory-grown eggs of the Laricobius osakensis, a newly discovered beetle species from Osaka, Japan, that preys almost exclusively on the woolly adelgid. …..”
Read entire article at http://www.roanoke.com/news/nrv/1799360-12/tiny-bug-offers-ray-of-hope-for-hemlocks.html
Northern Virginia Daily 3/11/2013
Excerpt: “A U.S. Forest Service ranger facing three gun-related charges won a round in a preliminary hearing Monday when a judge refused to certify the sole felony offense to a grand jury.
Shenandoah County General District Judge W. Dale Houff ruled that the prosecution failed to show that Damion James McElroy had endangered anyone when he fired a gun in his Strasburg home on Jan. 13. Houff’s ruling put a charge of reckless handling of a firearm in jeopardy. ….”
Read entire article at http://www.nvdaily.com/news/2013/03/judge-rejects-felony-gun-charge-against-forest-service-ranger.php
Northern Virginia Daily 1/16/2013
Excerpt: “The U.S. Forest Service has placed a ranger on administrative leave as he faces three gun-related charges following his arrest Monday night at his home in Strasburg.
JoBeth Brown would not comment on whether the ranger, Damion James McElroy, 39, of 762 Christianson Drive, was placed on leave because of the incident in which he is accused of firing a handgun once in his home. …..”
Read entire article at http://www.nvdaily.com/news/2013/01/ranger-under-investigation-on-administrative-leave.php
Roanoke Times 11/29/2012
Excerpt: “One hundred years ago the Blue Ridge Mountains were covered in American chestnut trees, which made up roughly a quarter of the canopy.
But the chestnut blight, an imported fungal infection first noticed in New York in 1904, had by the ’50s spread throughout Appalachia and devastated the chestnut tree population. But they’re still around, lurking beneath the soil. …….”
Read entire article at http://www.roanoke.com/news/roanoke/wb/317311
Roanoke Times 11/1/2012
Excerpt: “If you are a grouse hunter, these are difficult days, unless you just happen to enjoy long, arduous marches in woods that are silent.
Virginia hunters who participated in a Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ survey of hunter-success last season reported flushing 0.8 grouse per hour of effort. That was a tad better than the season before, when the flush rate was 0.5, which meant it took two hours of pushing through grouse cover for every flush experienced. …..”
Read entire article at http://www.roanoke.com/outdoors/billcochran/wb/316033
Washington Post 6/8/2012
Excerpt: ” The Bureau of Land Management’s Eastern States Office in Springfield is a quirky cross between generic office park and museum of land-surveying memorabilia. A huge embossing machine for documents is pressed up against one wall; a rusty solar compass sits behind a glass case, and a collection of sharks’ teethis perched on a shelf nearby.
It is also ground zero for a new land rush, as oil and gas companies look to lease swaths of U.S. Forest Service land holding the promise of shale gas deposits and other fossil fuel resources. The burst of activity has sparked a public debate over how to reconcile the different uses of national forests, now that what lies below the ground may be more valuable than the trees which grow above it. ….”
Read entire article at http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/forest-lands-in-the-east-attract-oil-and-gas-bidders-but-some-question-rush/2012/06/08/gJQA8lOvNV_story.html
Associated Press 6/4/2012
Excerpt: ” RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Vast national forest areas and scattered pockets of undeveloped lands in in West Virginia and Virginia are among the regions that would be resilient to drought, rising temperatures and other threats associated with climate change, according to a study released Monday by The Nature Conservancy.
The study identifies “strongholds” that could provide habitat to a variety of plants and animals under the extreme climate change predicted by many scientists. They also would be sources of clean drinking water and other resources for human populations. ….”
Read entire article at http://www2.wsls.com/news/2012/jun/04/2/virginia-climate-change-resilient-landscapes-ided–ar-1964643/
Staunton News Leader; 12/15/2011
Excerpt: “More than 62 percent of Virginia is classified as forest, but the state’s woods have been disappearing at a clip of 16,000 acres a year over the last decade.
That’s 44 acres a day or 1 acre every 33 minutes, according to the Virginia Department of Forestry 2011 State of the Forest report.
“Development is the primary cause,” said Charlie Becker of the department. “We lose a little bit to agriculture, but we also get some back from agriculture converted to forest.
“Once you lose forest to development, you generally lose it forever.”…
Read entire article at http://www.newsleader.com/article/20111215/NEWS01/112150325/Report-Va-s-forests-declining-risk
Richmond Times Dispatch; 10/30/2011
Excerpt: ““Scourge of the South” is a phrase that’s been applied to people (William Tecumseh Sherman), plants (cogon grass, kudzu) and diseases (pellagra), but if you’re a Virginian with any acreage planted in pines, chances are it’s a little insect that keeps you up nights.
The tiny Southern pine beetle (SPB) earned its place among Southern scourges in 2002 when it ravaged over 1 million acres, causing $1.5 billion in damage to the region’s pine crop.
When it ended, the U.S. Forest Service calculated that more than 8.4 million acres of Southern forestland was susceptible to a future outbreak. So they put a plan in place, spending $100 million since 2003, to try to prevent that.
Friday, officials of the USFS, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Virginia’s Department of Forestry were in New Kent County to mark the millionth acre protected in the Southern Pine Beetle Prevention Program…..”
Read more at http://www2.timesdispatch.com/sports/2011/oct/30/tdsport12-fighting-a-big-battle-against-a-tiny-bee-ar-1420610/