Environment

Environmental Report
12:06 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs

Five years after the Chesapeake Bay blue crab fishery was declared a federal disaster an annual scientific survey shows the population is far below the previous year, but scientists are not too worried.

Scientists from Virginia and Maryland conduct the so-called "winter dredge survey" while crabs are burrowed in the mud. Last year a baby crab boom led to the highest count in 20 years.

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Groundwater Warning
12:19 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Environment Virginia Symposium at VMI

Participants at the Environment Virginia Symposium
Credit Virginia Military Institute

Virginia’s Secretary of Natural Resources is warning that supplies of groundwater in the eastern part of the state are running dangerously low. 

Speaking at a conference on the environment at Virginia Military Institute, Doug Domenech said stores are down due increased demand from new homes, shopping centers and industrial parks.

The state is now urging industries that don’t need clean water to consider finding other sources, such as rivers, and the legislature recently approved money to monitor areas where ground water is in decline.

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TomTom Festival
4:12 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Weed Salad, anyone?

Patrick McCafferty, ready to chow down.

Spring has finally sprung here in Virginia, and that’s got one Charlottesville man on the move - pulling weeds, but he’s not just any gardener. 

26-year-old Patrick McCafferty is planning meals around the greens he gets for free. He finds his lunch by hiking a forest, or strolling around the yard.

He's learned the tricks of the trade of foraging for food, and become a master of plant identification.

“On the highway, I can identify weeds going 60 miles an hour from like, a hundred yards away.”

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17 Years Underground
3:36 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

The Cicadas Emerge

April may be known for more than showers this year. Some insects will make a return this spring after nearly two decades underground. . .

These creatures look a little frightening with their red eyes, black bodies and gold wings but there’s nothing to fear with the cicadas about to emerge from the earth.  Virginia Department of Forestry spokesman Chris Asaro says that’s where they’ve been waiting for the past 17 years.

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Environment
12:47 pm
Fri April 5, 2013

Making Hydrogen from Plants

Scientists in biological systems engineering at Virginia Tech have succeed in using xylose, a sugar found in plants to produce large quantities of hydrogen in an environmentally friendly way. 

Unlike current methods of making hydrogen gas, Associate Professor Percival Zhang’s process is done at low temperatures, uses no heavy metals and releases almost no green house gases.  His team designed an enzyme cocktail for splitting of the hydrogen.  The result is energy production at a rate of more than 100% efficiency; a level current methods do not reach.

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