Category Archives: Land Use

Items related to agriculture, preservation, development, forestry, and other land-based activities that affect water resources.

What to Do If You Find a Fawn or Other Young Wildlife, According to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ May 1, 2015, News Release

Following are the hyperlinked headline and an excerpt from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ (VDGIF) May 1, 2015, news release on what they recommend for citizen who find young deer or other wildlife.  Other news releases from VDGIF are available online at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/news/.

If You Find a Fawn, Leave it Alone, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries News Release, 5/1/15.

Excerpt
It’s that time of year again when white-tailed deer fawns are showing up in yards and hayfields, and concerned citizens want to know how to help. In almost all cases, the best way to help is to simply give the fawn space and leave it alone. Concerned people sometimes pick up animals that they think are orphaned.

… Most wild animals will not abandon their young, but they do leave them alone for long periods of time while looking for food. Fawns, born from April through July, are purposely left alone by their mothers. Female deer, called does, stay away from the fawns to avoid leading predators such as dogs or coyotes to their location.  The white-spotted coat camouflages a fawn as it lies motionless in vegetation.  Does will return several times each day to move and/or feed their young.  You probably will not see the doe at all since she only stays to feed the fawn for just a very few minutes before leaving it alone again.  If less than 24 hours have passed since a fawn has been “rescued,” the fawn should be taken back and released at the exact same location where it was found.  If a wild animal has been injured or truly orphaned, do not take matters into your own hands. You may locate a licensed wildlife rehabilitator by calling the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ (VDGIF) toll-free wildlife conflict helpline at 1-855-571-9003, 8:00AM-4:30PM, Monday through Friday or visit the VDGIF website at: http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/problems/.

Raising a wild animal in captivity is illegal unless you have a state permit, which is available only to zoos and wildlife rehabilitators. Each animal’s nutritional, housing, and handling requirements are very specific and must be met if they have any chance of survival.

…Wildlife managers have additional concerns about fawn rehabilitation. The process requires deer to be moved, treated (often in contact with other deer), and then released back into the wild.  Often, rehabilitated deer must be released into areas with already high deer populations.  Movement and commingling of deer increase the risks that contagious diseases, such as tuberculosis or chronic wasting disease (CWD), will be introduced into Virginia’s wild deer population. In fact, detections of CWD in Frederick and Shenandoah Counties have prompted the prohibition of deer rehabilitation in Clarke, Frederick, Shenandoah, and Warren Counties. See: http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/diseases/cwd/.

The best advice for someone who wants to help wildlife is to keep it wild. …More information [on deer] can be obtained on the agency’s website: http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/deer/.
[End excerpt]

More information on dealing with found wildlife generally is available from the DGIF’s “Injured and Orphaned Wildlife” page, online at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/injured/.

Nutrient-management School Offered by Va. DCR in Staunton, June 23-24 and June 29-July 1, 2015.

Following are the hyperlinked headline and an excerpt from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s May 12, 2015, news release on nutrient management training in summer 2015.

Nutrient management training to be offered in Staunton, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation News Release, 5/12/15.

Excerpt:
A two-part nutrient management training school will be offered in late June at the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton.  The training is open to anyone interested in learning more about the development of agricultural nutrient management plans or how to become a certified plan writer. …

The first session, June 23-24, will cover soil science, soil fertility and crop production.  The second session, June 29-July 1, will cover nutrient management plan writing using a case-study farm.  Both sessions will run 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. each day.  The fee for each session is $130 per person.  Registration by June 12 is recommended.

Nutrient management plans are guides for applying manure, fertilizers, biosolids, and other soil amendments so that crop yields are maximized, and ground and surface waters are protected from nutrient pollution. Application rates are determined by a process using yield records (or soil productivity when yield records aren’t available).

The training is open to everyone and will give participants an understanding of the process required to develop a nutrient management plan. Exercises will be hands-on and based on real scenarios.

…For more information about training and certification, go to www.dcr.virginia.gov/soil_and_water/nmtrain.shtml.  To register, contact Susan Jones at 804-443-3803 or susan.jones@dcr.virginia.gov[End excerpt]

Mapping Virginia’s Wine Industry and Measuring Coastal Agricultural Water Use are Subjects of NASA DEVELOP Program Research Projects Completed in 2015

Following are the hyperlinked headline and an excerpt from the Virginia governor’s office’s May 14, 2015, news release on recently completed Virginia agricultural research projects by the DEVELOP Program at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.

Governor McAuliffe Announces Completion of Spring 2015 Research Collaborations with NASA Langley Research Center, 5/14/15.

Excerpt: …[T]he National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)/Langley Research Center…DEVELOP Program has completed two projects in Virginia designed to support the Commonwealth’s wine industry and improve the efficiency of water consumption for agricultural purposes. … As part of the NASA Applied Sciences Program, DEVELOP supports activities that discover and demonstrate innovative uses and practical benefits of NASA Earth science data, scientific knowledge, and technology.   The DEVELOP National Program fosters an interdisciplinary research environment in which applied science research projects are conducted under the guidance of NASA and partner science advisors.  DEVELOP participants also work directly with Commonwealth professionals on research projects that focus on using NASA Earth observations to address community concerns and public policy issues.

“The first research project, ‘Virginia Agriculture II,’ is a partnership between the Virginia Wine Board and DEVELOP that maps the acreage of Virginia vineyards using NASA Earth observations.  The results of this project were presented to the Virginia Wine Board in order to explore the future of viticulture – the science, production, and study of grapes.  DEVELOP teams in Richmond and Wise County collaborated on the project.

“The second research project, ‘Coastal Mid-Atlantic Water Resources III,’ partners the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership and Digital Harvest, a Virginia-based company using unmanned aerial vehicle technology in the agriculture sector, to use NASA Earth observations to gain a better understanding of how often farmers need to irrigate their fields, with a goal to decrease water waste and lower economic costs.   This project offers the Commonwealth a greater understanding of water consumption behavior in a region, as well as a useful proxy for drought monitoring throughout Virginia.  DEVELOP teams in Richmond and Hampton collaborated on this research.   Project results will also be shared with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to explore potential use by the agency.

“… NASA DEVELOP is helping to promote workforce development throughout the Commonwealth by engaging Virginia in innovative applied research projects that address environmental concerns in areas such as agriculture, ecological forecasting, water resources, and air quality.  DEVELOP offers research opportunities for participants during three 10-week terms per year.   In Virginia, DEVELOP has been active in Wise County and Hampton, in addition to the new partnership with the Governor’s office in Richmond.

“For more information on the NASA DEVELOP program, please visit http://develop.larc.nasa.gov/.”  [End excerpt]

Forests on Private Land, Housing, and Water Supply are Focus of U.S. Forest Service Report Published in 2014

In 2014, the U.S. Forest Service published Private Forests, Housing Growth, and America’s Water SupplyThe 29-page reports provides rankings of watersheds across the conterminous United States according to the contributions of private forest land to surface drinking water, and according to threats to surface water from increased housing density.

The key overall findings of the report, according to the report abstract, are the following:
1) “Private forest land contributions to drinking water are greatest in the East but are also important in Western watersheds.”
2) “Development pressures on these contributions are concentrated in the Eastern United States but are also found in the North-Central region, parts of the West and Southwest, and the Pacific Northwest.”
3) “Nationwide, more than 55 million acres of rural private forest land are projected to experience a substantial increase in housing density from 2000 to 2030.”
4) “Planners, communities, and private landowners can use a range of strategies to maintain freshwater ecosystems, including designing housing and roads to minimize impacts on water quality, managing home sites to protect water resources, and using payment schemes and management partnerships to invest in forest stewardship on public and private lands.”

More information on the publication and access to the full document are available online at http://www.treesearch.fs.fed.us/pubs/47201; on contact the Forest Service at P.O. Box 96090, Washington, D.C. 20090-6090; phone (202) 205-8333. Specify Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-327, from the Rocky Mountain Research Station in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Virginia Agricultural Council Grants for 2016

Following are the hyperlinked headline and an excerpt from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) 4/27/15 news release on research grants by the Virginia Agricultural Council for 2016.  Other news releases from VDACS are available online at http://vdacs.virginia.gov/news/press.shtml.

Virginia Agricultural Council Funds Research Projects Totaling Nearly $315,000, 4/27/15. Excerpt: “At its recent meeting in March, the Virginia Agricultural Council (VAC) reviewed research project proposals and funded 21 new projects totaling almost $220,000, as well as more than $45,000 for four new projects for lawn and turf research.  It also extended funding for a second year on five projects totaling nearly $50,000.  In 1966 the Virginia General Assembly established the Virginia Agricultural Council to provide financial assistance and support for agricultural research, education, and services.  Its purpose is to find new uses for agricultural products, to develop new markets for such products and to promote more efficient and economical methods of agricultural production.  Funding comes from assessments levied on certain agricultural supplies used by farmers, including lime, fertilizer, feed and motor fuel used for agricultural purposes.”

The new projects for 2016 are the following:

Feasibility study on planting, field management and harvesting strategies for successful grain teff in Southeast Virginia – $18,534.

Enhancing embryonic survival in cattle grazing endophyte-infected tall fescue – $7,000;

Summer stockpiling fescue for late-summer grazing – $2,039;

Integrated research and extension education to enhance reproduction on small-scale and niche market pig farms in Virginia – $12,000;

Solving orchardgrass persistence problems in Virginia: hay harvest management and crop heat stress – $9,400;

Reducing fescue pasture toxicity by frost seeding Bermudagrass, alfalfa or clovers –$4,888;

Development of winter malt barley varieties for Virginia and neighboring states – $10,000;

Integrated approaches for reducing synthetic fertilizer inputs in apple orchards – $21,683;

Enhancing rumen development and growth in dairy calves through the use of a Megasphaera elsdenii probiotic supplement – $24,940;

Improving integrated pest management in Virginia cucurbit production – $14,954;

Growing for the future: building a research hop yard at Virginia Tech – $8,900;

Potential western corn rootworm resistance to Bt Corn in Virginia – $12,008;

Determining utilization and efficacy of best management practices for the Virginia nursery industry – $19,607;

Feasibility of sweet potato production in Virginia to supply fresh and processing markets – $17,000;

Evaluation of antimicrobial peptides expression in the gastrointestinal tract of Campylobacter-infected broiler chicks – $9,441;

Feasibility of sweet potato production in Virginia to supply fresh and processing markets – $17,000;

Composition and regional comparison of Virginia grown hops – $7,500;

Re-introduction of buckwheat (a multi-use crop) in Virginia – $20,000;

Characterizing herbicide-resistant annual bluegrass – $12,000;

The heating characteristics of tall fescue/Kentucky Bluegrass and Bermudagrass sods as affected by harvest season, daily time of harvest, turf mowing height and soil moisture at harvest – $7,500

Selective control of perennial grassy weeds in tall fescue, seashore paspalum and Bermudagrass – $15,546;

Efficacy of select insecticides on white grubs and earthworms – $10,217.

“Virginia Treasures” Strategy for Land Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Announced April 22, 2015, by Gov. McCauliffe

Following are the hyperlinked headline and an excerpt from the Virginia Governor’s Office’s Apr. 22, 2015, news release on the launch of Virginia Treasures, a new land-conservation and outdoor-recreation strategy.  The Web site for Virginia Treasures is http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/virginia-treasures.shtml.  Other Governor’s Office news releases are online at https://governor.virginia.gov/newsroom/news-releases/.

Governor McAuliffe Announces Major Conservation Initiative, 4/22/15.
Excerpt: “Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced the launch of Virginia Treasures, the Commonwealth’s new strategy for conserving land and expanding access to public outdoor recreation. … The administration’s goal is to identify, conserve, and protect at least 1,000 treasures by the end of the governor’s term. Criteria for what constitutes a treasure have been developed by the Commonwealth’s natural resources staff.

“Treasures could fall into one of two defined categories: land conservation; or natural, cultural, and recreational.  Land conservation treasures include agricultural lands, forests that provide water-quality benefits, wetlands, and habitat for rare or threatened plants and animals.  Natural, cultural, and recreational treasures include trails, water-access points, parks, scenic byways, rivers and viewsheds, public gardens, and wildlife-viewing areas.

“Governor McAuliffe [also] announced a new Virginia Treasure at Pocahontas State Park: a monarch butterfly garden. The garden will provide native plants and grasses for monarchs and other pollinators as part of an initiative to restore the monarch population, which has been on the decline due to the loss of food sources and habitat. …

“The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation is the lead agency charged with tracking Virginia Treasures. Multiple state agencies, land trusts, local governments and private groups are involved in the initiative.”

Increased Production and Purchase of Virginia Potatoes Planned by Route 11 Potato Chips in Shenandoah County, Va.: 3-18-15 News Release from Va. Governor’s Office

Following are the hyperlinked headline and an excerpt from the Virginia governor’s office’s Mar. 18, 2015, news release on increased production–bringing increased Virginia potato purchases–by Route 11 Potato Chips in Mt. Jackson (Shenandoah County).  (Other news releases from the governor’s office are available online at https://governor.virginia.gov/newsroom/news-releases/.)

Governor McAuliffe Announces Expansion of Specialty Potato Chip Production Facility in Shenandoah County, 3/18/15.  Excerpt: “…Route 11 Potato Chips will expand its existing potato chip production facility in Shenandoah County.  The company will invest more than $1.2 million and create 13 jobs in Mount Jackson, while sourcing nearly half of its new potato and sweet potato purchases from Virginia agricultural producers.   The Commonwealth is partnering with Shenandoah County and Route 11 on this project through the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund.  …Route 11 will install a second production line in its current facility to meet increased demand for its potato chips, particularly increased orders of its sweet potato chips, from major grocery chains and wholesale distributors.   The company sources chipping potatoes from Virginia and beyond, while sourcing 100% of their sweet potatoes from Virginia.”