American shad on ‘brink of collapse’ in James River, says conservation group
For centuries, the James River — the Mighty James, America’s Founding River, the waterway that sustained generations of Algonquin-speaking tribes and became the entry point for European settlement on the North American continent — came alive in the waning days of winter. Every year, the waterway that twists through the heart of Virginia suddenly would […]
Va.’s freshwater mussels are vanishing. Can a state plan save them?
SYCAMORE ISLAND, SCOTT COUNTY — In the last rocky shoals of the Clinch River before it crosses the invisible line separating Virginia from Tennessee, female mussels are biding their time. They are waiting for fish, and they will stop at nothing to entice them. The birdwing pearlymussel will deploy her mantle so that it looks […]
Scientists work to catch up with Va.’s endangered and threatened species before it’s too late
Following an announcement in September from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that 23 species should be declared extinct, Virginia’s environmental scientists are feeling the pressure to learn more about the commonwealth’s endangered and threatened species so they can be protected. “That list really highlights that extinction is not just a down-the-road possibility; it’s a […]
Mosquitoes are adept at adaptation. Va. Tech scientists want to know how they do it.
Wherever you go in Virginia in summertime, there they are. Mosquitoes are the nearly constant companion of every Virginian from late spring into the fall, breeding in pools of water and lying in wait for any chance at human blood. And some researchers say they may soon become even more omnipresent as climate change gives […]
Ban on pet box turtles takes effect in Virginia
Generations of Virginians have taken box turtles from forests and yards to keep as pets. As of today, that’s illegal. Experts say the docile, colorful turtles are in decline, and new state regulations taking effect ban turning them into pets. The rules also impose tough restrictions on keeping common native reptiles and amphibians such as […]
Unlike some hunting dogs, ‘right to retrieve’ debate keeps on coming back
A unique Virginia law dating to 1938 that allows hunters to go on other landowners’ property without permission to retrieve hunting dogs continues to raise hackles throughout the eastern part of the state and could be put in jeopardy by a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling. “Right to retrieve” has been causing strife for more […]
End wildlife killing contests
By Sydney Hearst I was lucky enough to learn early on what the phrase “Virginia is for lovers” truly means. Virginia has exquisite and diverse outdoor landscapes, and I started exploring them at a young age. My father’s family is based in the Virginia Beach area, so my earliest memories include seeing dolphins in the […]
New deer hunting regulations approved as chronic wasting disease spreads to Southwest Virginia
As chronic wasting disease continues its spread across Virginia, the Board of Wildlife Resources on Thursday approved a set of changes to hunting regulations designed to curb the neurological condition, which has a 100 percent fatality rate among deer and related species. Earlier this month, the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources announced a deer killed […]
Box turtle ban: New proposed regulations would restrict keeping of native reptiles and amphibians
Virginia’s wildlife agency is proposing major restrictions on keeping native reptiles and amphibians as pets. The proposals would ban the keeping of box turtles altogether. Box turtles are colorful, softball-sized reptiles that have been popular pets for generations of Virginians. But wildlife officials say the animals have become imperiled by people who pluck them from […]
More Virginians are foraging for ramps. Many are poisoning themselves by picking the wrong plant.
After a dreary pandemic winter, more Virginians are venturing out in search of ramps — the leafy green allium that’s become a darling of the spring dining season. Sometimes, what they’re finding is poisoning them. Dr. Chris Holstege, medical director of the Blue Ridge Poison Center at UVA Health, said he and his colleagues have […]
As bat disease continues its deadly march, study finds it’s killed more than 90 percent of three species
Virginia is one of many states hard hit by a fungal disease known as white-nose syndrome, which according to a study published Tuesday has killed more than 90 percent of northern long-eared, little brown and tri-colored bats in the U.S. over the past decade. “Virginia populations have suffered really severe impacts from white-nose syndrome, so […]
‘Slow the spread’ has been a COVID rallying cry. Va. officials have done it for a deadly deer disease for years.
The descriptions sound like a scene from a hunter’s horror movie. A deer staggers across a lawn, with unseeing eyes and drunken gait. Or maybe it is standing in a stream, drinking and drinking until it urinates but still will not stop, as if compelled to keep taking in water. Or it stands frozen in […]