Environment

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.

Weed Salad, anyone?

Apr 10, 2013

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.”

The Cicadas Emerge

Apr 10, 2013

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.

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.

The public comment period is now open on the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ proposed new regulations for Fox Hound training preserves.  

Fox Hunting has a long history in Virginia, but in the 1980s increased land development limited where hunters could train their dogs in the skill of the chase. 

That's when what are known as Fox Hound Training Preserves were created; privately owned enclosures where the dogs could practice.  Today there are 37 preserves in 22 counties, ranging from 100 acres to around 800, mostly in southeastern Virginia.

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