A couple of years ago I went back down to this area while fishing for browns on a section of the Jackson River (just below the dam at Lake Moomaw) with my buddy Dan Wrinn. We did okay - couple nice 10 inch browns. But what really caught our attention was us literally wading up to a sign posted on an oak tree on the bank that puzzled us. It read: "Kings Grant Land. No fishing. No Trespassing.""This isn't merry ol England where the peasants and commoners have no say or right to hunt or fish on the Kings Land. This is America - and 2012 America," Marc concludes. "No, we have waters and wildlife held in trust for all to enjoy." Learn more from the Virginia Rivers Defense Fund.
Huh? is right. After all my years spending time in this area, and on the Jackson, I have never seen this sign. After some digging, now I know. This land along the Jackson was granted by King George III of England way back in the day. I am talking 17th century before there was even a thought of Virginia, much less the United States. Guess this even trumps state law. [...]
The Virginia Supreme Court have upheld this and many other Kings Grant claims in Virginia and in other eastern states. Crazy I know. Read the latest on a lawsuit involving Kings Grant land & anglers. This is huge. All anglers are watching this. This could set tremendous precedent.
By some estimates, the world is losing 50 million acres of tropical rainforest a year -- an area double the size of Virginia. On the Indonesian island of Sumatra, much of the destruction has been traced to a Chinese Company called Asia Pulp and Paper or APP. The family that owns APP also owns and supplies Mercury Paper -- a company that moved to Virginia after [Gov. McDonnell] offered a $250,000 incentive to relocate from California. APP was recently singled out by Greenpeace, when laboratory analysis showed its paper towels, cardboard and toilet paper were made from rainforest trees. [...]Instead of urging the company to clean up its act to make its Virginia operation sustainable in the long term, McDonnell has parroted the company's attacks on anyone who would dare accuse Mercury of wrongdoing. No wonder McDonnell spends so much time trying to regulate women's bodies - otherwise people might realize the only way he can create jobs is by shoveling your tax dollars to companies accused of harming wildlife.
The company points proudly to a sanctuary it established for critically endangered tigers, but World Wildlife's Jan Vertefeuille says APP's taking down that rainforest too: "We found out, through satellite imagery, that APP was clearing part of its own tiger sanctuary. They had told the government that they were going to protect this area, and they were actually clear cutting it."
So what are the products you should make sure to avoid, what products should you buy instead, and which stores are supporting WWF's efforts?
Groundhogs are one of the few animals that achieve true, or "profound," hibernation, burrowing down below the frost line for the coldest months of the year. During this period, which usually lasts from mid-October to late February, a groundhog's heart rate drops from 80 beats a minute to only three or four, and its body temperature falls by 60 degrees. Warmer temperatures shorten hibernation, causing groundhogs to burrow later and rise earlier than is customary, said [Cornell wildlife expert Paul] Curtis.That can be a problem if groundhogs rise before their spring food supply has emerged. But the milder winters & earlier springs have a more serious wildlife implication for Virginians:
The Virginia Aquarium is reporting whale sightings off the coast of Virginia Beach. The aquarium's winter wildlife boat season started December 27th and the first whale watchers were treated to a number of sightings in the first week.Keep in mind this is the area Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-VA) thinks should be open to oil drilling. More on the whales from About.com:
New Year's Eve morning, two humpback whales and a seal were spotted hanging out near Rudee Inlet. Thursday the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Team confirmed that there are four humpback whales near the Cape Henry Lighthouse.
The consequences of such changes are unclear. Armadillos are a welcome help to residents dealing with fire ants, a big concern in the South, McDonough said. But they're also a nest predator and could put added pressure on local quail populations already trying to defend against possums, raccoons and snakes.See a map of the armadillo's projected range at DailyClimate.org. The quail connection is an example of the cascading effects of the climate crisis. Even if a quail can survive in a region that's rapidly becoming warmer & wetter, it may not survive a new predator moving into its habitat. It's also a major reason so many sportsmen have become climate activists.
[University of Michigan biology professor Philip] Myers' research in Michigan, meanwhile, suggests southern species are replacing northern ones, rather than simply slotting into the local fauna.
"To predict the impact of adding a chipmunk or subtracting a mouse, you have to know a lot more about the natural history of the communities than we do ... Potentially there are huge changes that could be a consequence of messing around with the species present," Myers said.
Deer were eventually reintroduced - and their populations exploded. While black bears have made a comeback, they're too slow to hunt adult deer. Wolves are great deer hunters, but reintroduction efforts in the eastern half of the United States have had limited success. And deer hunting is restricted on private property & on federal parkland, where deer thrive dashing through backyards and parks.
Today WAMU reports on the disastrous results for both people & our environment:
As an ever-rising population of white-tailed deer have bumped up against their human neighbors in the D.C. area, the results haven't been pretty. There were an estimated 88,000 deer-vehicle collisions in Virginia, Maryland, D.C., and Delaware last year.
But beyond the roads, experts say the deer are also having a major impact on forests, which are unable to replenish themselves to nurture the next generation due to the deer population's eating habits.
Scientists are comparing this onslaught to the devastation of the buffalo, the passenger pigeon and the American chestnut tree.It's now moved into Virginia:
And all the bats want to do is eat the mosquitoes that make us miserable and the bugs that damage our crops and gardens.