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Following UN Report, Sen. Udall and Rep. Beyer Introduce Bipartisan Wildlife Corridors...

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Great stuff as always by Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA08)! Following UN Report, Udall & Beyer Introduce Bipartisan Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act to Protect America’s Precious Biodiversity and Help Combat Mass Extinction Crisis Would reverse...

Tuesday News: “Time for Republicans to denounce this tax nonsense”; “Congress...

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by Lowell Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, November 21. Time for Republicans to denounce this tax...

“All Hail the King” Trumps Virginia Sportsmen’s Rights?

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After an encounter on the Jackson River in western Virginia where he's fished his whole life, Marc Smith is ready to revolt:
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."

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.

"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.

Bob McDonnell Used Your Tax Dollars to Lure Company Accused of...

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The World Wildlife Fund accuses a Virginia company of destroying the rainforest habitat of tigers, elephants and other wildlife in Indonesia to turn it into toilet paper:
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. [...]

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."

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.

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?

Global Warming: Bad News for Groundhogs, Good News for Deer Ticks

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groundhogOn a warm Groundhog Day & with mild temperatures forecast to continue across Virginia through the 10-day outlook, E&E News (sub. req.) takes a closer look at at how global warming is impacting Punxsutawney Phil & friends:
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:

Migrating Humpback Whales Return to Virginia Beach

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Humpback WhaleThe first migrating humpback whales of the winter have been spotted off Virginia Beach:
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.

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.

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:

Coming Soon to Virginia: Armadillos

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Armadillo FeetGlobal warming has species on the move - for instance, making Vermont less hospitable to its iconic maple trees. Meanwhile, warm-weather species are taking the opportunity to move north, and according to a recent study, armadillos could move north into Virgina & across the entire Mid-Atlantic region:
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.

[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.

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.

The Disastrous Results of Unlimited Deer

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2010-09-05: Deer in the HeadlightsA hundred years ago, humans hunting for food had nearly wiped out local populations of deer, turkey and even squirrels in the Mid-Atlantic region. And humans protecting their livestock or hunting for trophies wiped out bear and wolf populations.

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.

Like Mosquitoes? You’ll Love White-Nose Syndrome

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Little brown bat from Avery County with fungus on noseEven with just a few warm days last week, bugs were already buzzing around in my backyard. And this summer's swarm of mosquitoes could be even larger than usual thanks to a new plague that's wiping out bats - white-nose syndrome:
Scientists are comparing this onslaught to the devastation of the buffalo, the passenger pigeon and the American chestnut tree.

And all the bats want to do is eat the mosquitoes that make us miserable and the bugs that damage our crops and gardens.

It's now moved into Virginia: