Category Archives: Aquatic Life

2010 BP Gulf Oil Spill Ecological Damages Valued at $17.2 Billion, According to Research Published on April 20, 2017

In the April 20, 2017, issue of Science, a team of researchers (including Kevin Boyle of Virginia Tech’s Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics) estimated that the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which began April 20, 2010, resulted in the equivalent of $17.2 billion of damage to natural resources.

The estimate was based on a household survey asking what people would be willing to pay to prevent or reduce a future recurrence of the kinds of damages (to organisms and habitats) seen from the 2010 incident.

The article is “Putting a value on injuries to natural assets: The BP oil spill,” in the April 20, 2017, issue of Science (Vol. 356, Issue 6335, pages 253-254), available online at http://science.sciencemag.org/.  (The direct link to article is http://science.sciencemag.org/content/356/6335/253, but a subscription is required for access.)  A summary of the research is available in BP oil spill did $17.2 billion in damage to natural resources, scientists find in first-ever financial evaluation of spill’s impact, Virginia Tech News, 4/20/17.

Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas Begins Five-year Project in 2017 to Update Data from the 1980s

Old Dominion birds of water, dry land, or habitats in between are all the focus of the second Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas (VABBA2).

VABBA2 is a five-year project, starting in 2017, to survey and map the distribution and status of bird species that breed in the Commonwealth.  This is the second such survey, following one conducted in the 1980s.  The project is led by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the Virginia Society of Ornithology, Virginia Tech’s Conservation Management Institute, and 14 regional coordinators.  Citizen volunteers will collect much of the data on location, numbers, and breeding behavior.

More information is available from the project’s Web site, http://amjv.org/index.php/vabba2/; and in “Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas Project Relies on Volunteers to Update Data,” Virginia Tech College on Natural Resources and Environment News Magazine, 2/10/17.

On Virginia Water Radio for 4-10-17: Patrick County High School Students Introduce Aquatic Macroinvertebrates

Virginia Water Radio’s latest episode for the week of April 10, 2017, is “Students Make a Call for Stream Insects and Other Invertebrates.”  The 4 min./17 sec. episode, available online at http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/2017/04/episode-363-4-10-17-students-make-call.html, features students from Patrick County High School in Stuart, Va., during a visit to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg on March 31, 2017.

Virginia Water Radio’s is a weekly broadcast/podcast produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center.  The home page is http://www.virginiawaterradio.org.  Have a listen or two!

Trout Fishing in Virginia: Links to VDGIF Stocked Trout Management Plan for 2016-2025 and Annual Stocking Plan

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) “Virginia Stocked Trout Management Plan (2016-2025)” is available online (as a PDF) at https://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wp-content/uploads/stocked-trout-management-plan-final.pdf.  A draft of the plan was released in July 2015, and public comments were accepted by VDGIF until September 2015.  The plan was produced by VDGIF, the Virginia Tech Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, and citizens on a stakeholder advisory committee.

According to the Executive Summary of the plan, the “plan contains two major sections: the technical section and the goals, objectives and strategies for management of stocked trout.  The technical section describes the history of trout management in Virginia, how VDGIF approaches management of stocked trout, including production, facilities, species produced, and challenges faced in raising trout. The second section of the Plan lists the values and goals for management of stocked trout within five major issue areas (what stakeholders want to achieve and why) and the objectives and strategies for management of stocked trout (specific accomplishments that will allow VDGIF to measure success in achieving goals and how to approach achieving goals and objectives). The Plan is designed to provide a blueprint for future direction of stocked trout management rather than specific details of day-to-day operations.”

VDGIF also annually publishes a “Catchable Trout Stocking Plan,” designating the stocking frequency and other details for the Commonwealth’s Designated Trout Waters, listed by locality.  A given year’s stocking plan is available online at https://www.dgif.virginia.gov/fishing/trout/catchable-trout-stocking-program/.

More information about VDGIF’s trout-fishing programs and activities is available online at https://www.dgif.virginia.gov/fishing/trout/.

On Virginia Water Radio for 2-27-17: Eastern Spadefoot

Virginia Water Radio’s latest episode, for the week of February 27, 2017, is “The Eastern Spadefoot’s Underground Digs Make This Amphibian a Virginia Scientific Challenge.”   The 3 min./49 sec. episode, available online at http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/2017/02/episode-357-2-27-17-eastern-spadefoots.html, focuses on a burrowing amphibian whose secretive habits make its Virginia distribution relatively unknown and the object of a 2017 project.

spadefoot-poster

Poster from Jason Gibson (Patrick Henry Community College, Martinsville, Va.) and Travis Anthony (J. Sargent Reynolds Community College, Richmond, Va.) promoting their project to learn more about the Eastern Spadefoot in Virginia. Accessed at the Virginia Master Naturalists Web site, http://www.virginiamasternaturalist.org/home/in-search-of-spadefoots, on 2/27/17.

Virginia Water Radio’s is a weekly broadcast/podcast produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center.  The home page is http://www.virginiawaterradio.org.  Have a listen or two!

Natural History of the Great Smoky Mountains Course Offered by Virginia Tech Aug. 5-12, 2017

If you’re interested in the Great Smoky Mountains or the southern Appalachians in general–the water, air, land, people, plants, wildlife, and more–consider the Virginia Tech course, Natural History of the Great Smoky Mountains, August 5-12, 2017.  This three-credit course is led by Dr. Donald Linzey, an adjunct instructor in the the Virginia Tech Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation and the author of A Natural History Guide to Great Smoky Mountains National Park (University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, 2008).

People who are not degree-seeking Virginia Tech students may still participate in the course as special, non-degree students; an application process to Virginia Tech for that status is required.

For more information about the course, contact Dr. Linzey at (540) 231-2290 or dlinzey@vt.edu.  For details about registration, contact Susan Higgins at (540) 231-5482 or Cathy Barker at (540) 231-3486.

For an audio take on biodiversity and how Virginia Tech’s Great Smoky Mountains course focuses on that topic, have a listen to Virginia Water Radio Episode 260 (4-6-15), Biodiversity in Virginia and the Southern Appalachian Mountains (4 min./27 sec.).

Jordans Red-cheeked Salamander near Clingmans Dome Obs Tower Great Smoky Mt NP Aug6 2014 in Don Linzeys hands

A Jordan’s Red-cheeked Salamander, found near Clingman’s Dome in Great Smoky Mountain National Park, was one of the treasures found during the 2014 version of Virginia Tech’s summer field course, “Natural History of the Great Smoky Mountains.”

On Virginia Water Radio for 2-6-17: Virginia’s Flora Fills a Book, Inspires an App, Illustrates a Photo Exhibition, and Forms a Foundation for the Commonwealth’s Natural Resources

Virginia Water Radio’s latest episode, for the week of February 6, 2017, is “Virginia’s Plants in History, Music, and Water”   The 4 min./13 sec. episode, available online at http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/2017/02/episode-354-2-6-17-virginias-plants-in.html, updates a January 2013 episode on the Flora of Virginia, the book and project documenting the Commonwealth’s thousands of plants.  The episode’s musical selection is “Fair Meadows and Goodly Tall Trees” by Timothy Seaman of Williamsburg.

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An aquatic member of Virginia’s flora: Wild Celery near Dixon Landing on the James River (Nelson-Buckingham county line), July 11, 2009.

Virginia Water Radio’s is a weekly broadcast/podcast produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center.  The home page is http://www.virginiawaterradio.org.  Have a listen or two!