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Saturday, November 14, 2020

VFA Remembers Lifetime Member L.O. Scott

VFA extends its most heartfelt condolences to the friends and family of Leander O'Neal (L.O.) Scott. Having originally joined VFA in 1977, Mr. Scott became a lifetime member of the organization in 1985. From his obituary on Legacy.com:

"Leander was a businessman, pulp wood dealer, farmer and self-educated historian. He was a true entrepreneur who started multiple forestry related businesses over the last seven decades, some of which are still in operation today. Leander loved 'buying dirt' as he called it. His parents put a tract of land in his name to manage when he was a young teenager, fueling his lifelong drive for timberland acquisition and management."

In lieu of flowers, the Scott family has asked for memorial contributions to Amelia Academy, 8741 N. Five Forks Road, Amelia, VA. 23002.

READ: Full obituary for VFA lifetime member Leander O'Neal Scott

COVID Updates: Restrictions Renewed and DOLI COVID Employer Regulation

As COVID-19 infection rates and hospitalizations increase across the country, there were two late-week updates related to regulations and restrictions in the Commonwealth of Virginia:

DOLI COVID Employer Regulation - On Thursday, November 12th, the DOLI Safety and Health Codes Board met to review public comments received during its initial comment period for its Proposed Permanent Standard for Infectious Disease Prevention of the SARSCoV-2 Virus That Causes COVID. In the coming weeks, DOLI will proceed in attempting to adopt a revised permanent standard that will be open to another public comment period and public hearing. 

For more information on the proposed permanent standard, including VFA-supported comments filed by the Virginia Business Coalition, visit the DOLI Proposed Permanent Standard page

Governor Northam Reinstitutes Certain COVID Restrictions - On Friday November 13th, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced new restrictions to mitigate the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in Virginia. Restrictions include reducing the number of individuals permitted at gatherings indoors or outdoors to 25 or less and strengthened mask enforcement in essential retail business operations. These updated rules take effect at midnight on Sunday, November 15, 2020.

For more information on these updated restrictions, visit Governor's Press Release: New Statewide Measures to Contain COVID-19.
Dr. Carolyn Copenheaver, Project Director of Next Gen Scholars Program, appears on WFXR's Loving Living Local with Kianna Price 
Next Generation Scholars Program Aims to Increase Diversity in Forestry Field

"For Emily Barrett Cook, growing up in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains wasn’t enough to put a career in forestry on her radar.

'I came to Virginia Tech as a biochemistry major,' said Cook, a 2020 forestry graduate who is now pursuing a master’s. 'I had taken AP biology and chemistry and liked those classes, but as a first-generation student, I was really lost in the whole process and quickly realized it wasn’t a fit for me. I heard about the forest resource management concentration and jumped in, and I’ve loved it ever since.'

Cook’s experience reflects a challenge faced by the forestry and environmental resources industries: having traditionally relied on informal pathways and networks to draw workers, both industries are struggling to diversify their workforce."
 
For the full story from Virginia Tech Daily (11/9/20), click here.

For Dr. Copenheaver's interview with WFXR (11/10/20), click here.

 

Officials Urge Caution with Fall Wildfire Season Underway

"In the fall, the state of West Virginia and Virginia commonly deal with some wildfires. The biggest factors are lower humidity, more wind, and also more dry spells. One of the biggest differences between spring and fall wildfire season is the leaves falling off the trees.

'We start to have leaves fall and as those leaves fall on the ground, they can dry out along with our grasses. Some of our summer grasses die back and that can lead to a lot of dry dead fuel on the ground in the fall,' said Patti Nylander from the Virginia Department of Forestry."

 
For the full article from WHSV (11/4/20), click here.

 

Virginia Offers $1 million in Grants for Floodplain and Dam Safety Projects

"Dam owners and local governments may now apply for $1 million in matching grants from the Virginia Dam Safety, Flood Prevention and Protection Assistance Fund. The fund is managed by the Virginia Resources Authority on behalf of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).

All grants are reimbursements and require a 50 percent match. The maximum amount per grant will be determined based on amounts requested for eligible projects, application scores, and available funds."
 
For the full article from WFXR (11/9/20), click here.

 

Battle Against the Highly Invasive Spotted Lanternfly Heats Up in Virginia

"When the highly invasive spotted lanternfly was first discovered in the woods surrounding Kate Reed’s Winchester home, it occurred in such small numbers that finding it required a short trip and careful observation in a small area of trees, according to a news release from Virginia Tech.

This year, the spotted lanternfly so heavily populated her community that neighbors complain of insects scaling buildings up to fifth-floor balconies and thick swarms of large adult lanternflies can be seen congregating on newly cut tree stumps of its preferred host species, tree of heaven."
 
For the full article from the Fauquier Times (11/5/20), click here.
 

Virginia DOT Seeks Comment on Truck Traffic Restrictions in Goochland Co.

"Notice is hereby given that the Virginia Department of Transportation is accepting written comments through December 16, 2020, regarding the restriction of through truck traffic for the following routes:

Route 608 (Davis Mill Road) from Route 6 (River Road) to Route
606 (Hadensville-Fife Road).The proposed restriction is
approximately 1.11 miles."

 
For the full DOT notice and information on how to submit comments, click here.

 

Arlington to Update Forestry Plan, Plant More Trees

"Arlington County is updating its Forestry and Natural Resources Plan to conserve, plant, and maintain wildlife there. Over the next year, the project team will be collecting comments from the public about the county’s conservation and maintenance. The county hosted its first public comment session on Tuesday. 

Arlington County’s current Urban Forest Master Plan was approved in 2004. In 2017, the county assessed its tree canopy: the 'fundamental benchmark of a healthy urban forest.' From 2011 to 2016, Arlington’s tree canopy increased by 165 acres. 38 percent of the county, including Ronald Reagan National Airport and the Pentagon, was covered by tree canopy. Residential and public spaces were home to the most trees."

 
For the full article from LocalDVM.com (11/10/20), click here.

 

Forest Fracas: Activists and Lawyers Continue Pipeline Fight in Western Virginia

"In July, the 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline was canceled, sending shock waves through the energy industry and sparking jubilant celebrations from activists who had spent years fighting the project. 

There’s no rest for the weary, though. Further west, a little deeper into the Appalachian hills, another fight rages on. The Mountain Valley Pipeline, if completed, would pull natural gas from the prehistoric Marcellus Shale deposits underneath West Virginia and carry the fuel 300 miles to southern Virginia."

 
For the full article from C-Ville.com (11/11/20), click here.

 

Q&A: New Center is at the Heart of Virginia's Transition to Clean Energy

"Some of the most successful mergers are often the ones that occur organically – and that appears to be the case with the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service’s Energy Transition Initiative. The union between the Cooper Center’s Virginia Clean Energy Project and its Virginia Solar Initiative, announced during last month’s Virginia Clean Energy Summit, is designed to leverage UVA’s expertise in the sustainable energy space."

"If you look at other states that are making significant progress transitioning toward a higher percentage of their energy coming from renewables, especially higher rates of solar, what those states have in common is many of them have a center for clean energy policy dedicated to that state’s particular situation.

 
For the full article from UVA Today (11/6/20), click here.

 

VA Hike Follows Path of Female Conservationists

"The year 2020 marks a century since women were granted the right to vote under the 19th Amendment, but the roots of female-fueled conservation run much deeper than that date. Many of the protected landscapes surrounding the Chesapeake Bay owe their preservation to women — who “voted” with letters, articles and deeds of trust both before and after they could do so at the ballot box."

That inspired Kiersten Fiore, visitor services and operations manager for Ellanor C. Lawrence Park in Fairfax County, VA, to retrace the steps of a few of these “women of the wild.” Her guided hike through the park, available on request for groups and individuals, uses trail landmarks to tell the story of a handful of women who have worked locally, regionally and nationally to steward the environment for future generations.”

 
For the full article from the Bay Journal (11/11/20), click here.

 

Sickle Darter Proposed for Endangered Species Act Protection in Virginia

"In response to a 2010 petition and 2015 agreement with the Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed today to protect the sickle darter under the Endangered Species Act.

'Protecting the sickle darter under the Endangered Species Act will bring funding and a recovery plan to save this little fish from extinction,' said Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. 'It will also help safeguard the Appalachian rivers it calls home.'

 
For the full release from the Center for Biological Diversity (11/10/20), click here.
Tick Maps: Merging Epidemiological Data with Technology
Augusta Free Press - November 12, 2020

Picture a residential neighborhood, the houses built on acres of former farmland. Nearby, a few grassy areas are left to grow wild, allowing birds and small mammals...MORE
Virtual Reality Forests Could Help Understanding of Climate Change
Phys.org - November 12, 2020

The effects of climate change are sometimes difficult to grasp, but now a virtual reality forest, created by geographers, can let people walk through a simulated forest...MORE

Forest Service Offers 5th Graders Free Access to National Forests and Grasslands
US Forest Service Press Release - November 12, 2020

The USDA Forest Service today announced it will expand its Every Kid Outdoors program to offer fourth- and fifth-grade students and family members fee-free access...MORE

America's Forest Sector is Ready for Climate Action and Rural America Can Benefit
The Hill - November 12, 2020

While this election demonstrates there’s still a significant divide amongst Americans on many issues, there’s a center on climate policy that is tapping America’s forests...MORE

Research: Drivers of Change in US Forests and Forestry Over the Next 20 Years
USFS Northern Research Station - November 2020

Drivers of change are overarching forces that have changed conditions in the past, are influencing the present, and are anticipated to influence the future. For this report...MORE

Can an Ambitious Breeding Effort Save North America’s Ash Trees?
ScienceMag.org - November 12, 2020

On a weekday morning in August, just one pickup truck sat in the sprawling visitors’ parking lot here at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Forestry...MORE

As Crowds Swell on Public Lands, Visitors Learn How to Minimize Their Impact
National Geographic - November 2020

As the coronavirus pandemic canceled or changed most Americans’ travel plans, people flocked to public lands in record numbers—many for the first time. Although....MORE

OP-ED: What We Can Expect on the Environment from a Biden Administration
Virginia Mercury - November 12, 2020

Immediately following the 2016 election of Donald Trump, I wrote a column titled “Why Trump won’t stop the clean energy revolution.” If you were to read it now, you...MORE

Forest-Climate Working Group - 117th Congress Priorities
Forest-Climate Working Group - November 2020

The Forest-Climate Working Group (FCWG) was founded in 2007 to provide a unified voice across the U.S. forest sector that can help America capture this remarkable...MORE

Longleaf Pines Fire Up Public-Private Partnerships
Fayetteville Observer - November 7, 2020

Ten years ago, North Carolina’s longleaf pine forests were dense tangled jungles strangling flora, suffocating fauna and threating catastrophic wildfire. But an innovative public...MORE

How AI Can Help Save Forests
Wall Street Journal - November 3, 2020

A beetle no larger than a grain of rice is ravaging European forests, infesting and killing trees faster than they can be culled to slow the insects’ spread. It turns out the...MORE

FMCSA Looking to Gain Traction on Autonomous Trucking
FreightWaves.com - November 2, 2020

Federal regulators are seeking Trump administration approval for a survey of private trucking companies that could help the government establish safety rules...MORE

Federal Agencies Fall Short of Trump Forest Protection Goals
Washington Post - October 31, 2020

Nearly two years ago, President Donald Trump stood amid the smoky ruins of Paradise, California, where he blamed the deadliest wildfire in the state’s history on poor...MORE

November 20, 2020 - Fifteen Minutes in the Forest

Spend 15 minutes in the forest with Virginia Tech and Virginia Cooperative Extension Foresters each Friday at noon to learn about timely forestry topics.

November 20, 2020 - Urban Wood Network's National Urban Wood Academy

This 3-hour virtual event will feature experts from each link in the urban wood supply chain sharing stories from across the country of how municipalities and businesses have overcome barriers to build successful urban wood programs and industry in local markets. 
 

December 3, 2020 - You Have the Portable Sawmill. Now What?

Join Wise County's Virginia Cooperative Extension office and Dr. Brian Bond, Professor of Sustainable Biomaterials at Virginia Tech, in a discussion on the steps for turning a portable sawmill hobby into a sustainable business.

To register for this free virtual event, contact Phil Meeks by email at pmeeks@vt.edu or by phone at (276) 328-6194.
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