Environment and Outdoors

If you take recycled products to any of the Roanoke County collection sites, you will notice a difference next time you are there. In the past, you had to place your recyclables in different compartments of the collection trailers, but now you put all of them in any compartment you wish. The main reason: avoiding situations where one kind of recyclable fills well before the others. WFIR’s Evan Jones has the story.

UPDATE: ROANOKE, Va. (AP) — Two women have come down from tree-top perches where they have been protesting a natural gas pipeline granted eminent domain to run through their property in Virginia. Sixty-one-year-old Theresa Ellen Terry and her adult daughter, Theresa Minor Terry, came down Saturday afternoon.

A federal judge had given them until midnight to comply with her order giving Mountain Valley Pipeline developers access to a forced easement on their property. Had the women not complied, they faced arrest by U.S. Marshals. The Roanoke Times reports that Theresa Minor Terry rappelled down about 3:45 p.m. Saturday, and her mother climbed down a ladder about an hour later.

Roanoke County authorities issued arrest warrants for the women last month, did not try to remove them by force.

Previous: ROANOKE, Va. (AP) — A federal judge has given a mother and daughter until midnight Saturday to come down from trees and comply with a court order granting a natural gas pipeline rights to their property. Judge Elizabeth Dillon found Theresa “Red” Terry and Theresa Minor Terry in contempt of her order granting Mountain Valley Pipeline an easement through their land on Virginia’s Bent Mountain. The Roanoke Times reported Friday that if the women don’t climb down voluntarily, U.S. Marshals will be authorized to arrest them five days later. The judge says she understands their frustrations, but people who express opposition through civil disobedience should be prepared to face the consequences.

The U.S. Forest Service is publicly apologizing for using four-wheel A-T-V’s on 150 yards of the Appalachian Trial – and for causing some damage to the trail’s natural appearance. The personnel used the machines where opponents of the Mountain Valley Pipeline are perched on a pole and in a tree. Motorized vehicles are not permitted on the national scenic trail.

News release: USDA Forest Service law enforcement officers working at the site where protestors are violating a National Forest closure order in Virginia have damaged about 150 yards of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (ANST). Beginning April 11, 2018 until April 30, 2018 officers used Utility Terrain Vehicles (UTVs, or side-by-sides) to travel on the ANST between the site where a protestor is sitting on a pole (monopod) and another is sitting in a tree. The officers are conducting twice daily welfare checks on the two protestors, who say they oppose the construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline on the George Washington-Jefferson National Forests. The use of the UTVs caused damage to the ANST, according to Michael Donaldson, Special Agent in Charge for the USDA Forest Service Law Enforcement and Investigations, Southern Region. “We are still evaluating the damage, but this is clearly our mistake and I apologize that it happened,” he said. “Of course, we will see that the trail is repaired as soon as possible.” Donaldson said the damage is still being evaluated, but involves exposed bare soil, widened trail tread, and UTV tracks through a low wet area.

Photo: NPS

A well-known shelter for hikers at Peaks of Otter is getting some long-needed repairs this summer. It is one of many Blue Ridge Parkway projects and activities that are featured at a “season preview” today in Roanoke. More from WFIR’s Evan Jones.

The shelter’s restoration is one of many Blue Ridge Parkway projects and activities you can learn more about at today’s season preview in Roanoke. It runs from 4:00 until 6:00 at the Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge Visitor Center, located in a former railroad station by the Hotel Roanoke.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Virginians can start weighing in on whether they believe the water quality approvals granted for two natural gas pipelines are adequate to protect the state’s waterways.
The Department of Environmental Quality made available on Friday information and instructions for a 30-day public comment period about the water permits for the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines.
The comment period opens Monday. It was initiated by the State Water Control Board earlier this month.
Critics have argued the review process the U.S. Army Corps of engineers used for the permits was overly broad and DEQ should have done a stream-by-stream study.
The department has said the reviews are adequate, and the pipeline companies say they’ve undergone a thorough, fair environmental review process.

Roanoke County Police Chief Howard Hall says he has been informed that tree cutting for the Mountain Valley Pipeline is now 60% complete through the county. Hall told the Board of Supervisors today that police relations have been cordial with the tree-sitting pipeline protestors and their supporters on the ground — but the protest is illegal, and arrest warrants await the two women when they come down. He says most of what has occurred did not come as any surprise:

County Fire and Rescue Chief Steve Simon told supervisors that crews have pre-positioned equipment near the tree-sitting protest site in case a medical rescue becomes necessary.

Roanoke County officials say the tree-sitters on Bent Mountain indicated for the first time yesterday they had run out of food and were in need – and their requests were immediately accommodated. Officials say Fire and Rescue medical staffers are offering wellness checks each day.

From Roanoke County:  On Sunday, those occupying trees in Bent Mountain in protest of the Mountain Valley Pipeline told Police for the first time that they had run out of food and were in need. Their requests were accommodated immediately. Police and Fire & Rescue personnel have continually asked the protesters if they have any needs. With the exception of requests for BC Powder and cigarettes, they have said they have provisions. Only Sunday did they tell personnel they had run out of food.  As has been repeatedly stated, Roanoke County will provide protesters with what is needed to ensure their physical needs are met. The County will also continue daily wellness checks, performed by trained medical staff of our Fire & Rescue Department, in an attempt to ensure the protesters are kept safe.

There has been much public discussion regarding the unwillingness of public safety staff to allow supporters of the protesters to provide supplies. It is both necessary and important to the safety of all concerned that certain items not be permitted in these makeshift dwellings some 40 feet above the ground, and public safety staff will continue to deny those who wish to directly provide support from doing so. Nutritionally‐balanced meals will be made available daily to the protesters to sustain their health and physical needs.

Public Domain: www.fhwa.dot.gov

State game officials say this is the time of year white-tailed deer fawns show up seemingly abandoned in fields and yards — but in almost all cases, this is simply a part of nature, and the worst thing you can do bring the young deer in. Mothers frequently leave their young alone for lengthy periods, and in almost all cases, the does return to feed and then move their fawns. WFIR’s Evan Jones has more.

In rare cases where a fawn may be in danger or distress, you can call the nearest wildlife rehabilitator. Click here for a list from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.