Environment

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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Hydraulic Mills Community
4:44 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

Cemetery is in the Path of Route 29 Bypass

Map showing the location of the Hydraulic Mills community.
Credit African American Families Database

The Virginia Department of Transportation has cleared another speed bump in its drive to build a bypass to Route 29 through Albemarle County. 

Those who oppose the 29 bypass have made many arguments.  Some think the project, which VDOT predicts will cost about $240 million is too expensive for the limited time drivers would save.  Others worry about the impact on health from a six-mile road that would pass by six schools, while a third group feared trucks with hazardous cargo could pass too close to the city’s water supply. 

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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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