Environment and Outdoors

Ian Price photos

Bees and people alike have a new attraction in Northwest Roanoke, thanks to the efforts of the Northwest Faith Partnership, Mill Mountain Garden Club, and the City of Roanoke. A new pollinator garden was revealed today and serves as a symbol of environmental efforts in the community.  In addition to the garden, a “Bee City” designation sign was also revealed for the city’s recent addition to the organization. Pastor Kathy O’Keeffe of Kingdom Life Ministries spoke to WFIR:


Bear Mange Photo: Va DWR

State game officials are seeking public review before approving a new bear management plan for Virginia’s black bears, and  one of the newest issues involves is a skin disease that is afflicting some bears along the Appalachians and other portions of northwest Virginia. Bear mange has slowly been working its way southward from the Winchester area — but there are no confirmed cases yet in our immediate region. Several states are working together in efforts to get a better handle on it. More from WFIR’s Evan Jones:

Click here to see the 2023-2032 Virginia Black Bear Management Plan and how to provide comment through September 5.

Photo: VWCC

Virginia Western Community College is now an affiliate Bee Campus.  The Xerce Society of Invertebrate Conservation’s Bee Campus USA program works to galvanize campuses to sustain pollinators by providing a healthy habitat rich in variety of native plants and free of pesticides. Every year the school will have to submit a report to show how the campus is working to protect pollinators and what it has been doing to raise awareness about their plight. WFIR’s Denise Allen Membreno has more:

Photo: Ian Price

The Roanoke River Greenway’s “missing link” is missing no longer. Roanoke City and Greenway Commission officials cut the ribbon today on a one-mile section that connects the greenway all the way from southeast Roanoke to Salem, including its longest bridge span over the Roanoke River – almost 300 feet. City Manager Bob Cowell tells us the next step is building strong Greenway connections to Roanoke neighborhoods:

Cowell says there is just one bit of work that needs completion in the city — a small greenway portion that currently runs along a southeast city street:

Cowell says today’s ribbon-cutting culminates a quarter century of planning and perseverance — not to mention support from City Council as projected completion costs kept rising over those 25 years.




WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed construction to resume on a contested natural-gas pipeline that is being built through Virginia and West Virginia.

Work on the Mountain Valley Pipeline had been blocked by the federal appeals court in Richmond, Virginia, even after Congress ordered the project’s approval as part of the bipartisan bill to increase the debt ceiling. President Joe Biden signed the bill into law in June.

The high court’s order came as a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was hearing arguments in the case.

“All necessary permits have been issued and approved, we passed bipartisan legislation in Congress, the president signed that legislation into law, and now the Supreme Court has spoken: construction on the Mountain Valley Pipeline can finally resume, which is a major win for American energy and American jobs,” West Virginia Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito said in a statement.

Lawyers for the company said they needed quick Supreme Court action to keep plans on track to finish building the 300-mile (500-kilometer) pipeline and put it into service by the winter, when the need for natural gas for heating grows.

Environmental groups have opposed the the $6.6 billion project, designed to meet growing energy demands in the South and Mid-Atlantic by transporting gas from the Marcellus and Utica fields in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Jamie Williams, president of The Wilderness Society, said in a statement that allowing the pipeline to proceed “puts the profits of a few corporations ahead of the health and safety of Appalachian communities. The Mountain Valley Pipeline is a threat to our water, our air, and our climate.”

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who had asked the Supreme Court to take up the case, said after the ruling that there was an “urgent need” for the pipeline to be completed without delay.

The appeals court did not immediately rule on Mountain Valley Pipeline’s motion to dismiss challenges to the project over concerns about the pipeline’s impact on endangered species, erosion and stream sedimentation.

Derek Teaney, an attorney for Appalachian Mountain Advocates, told the appeals court that Congress’ action last month requiring that all necessary permits be issued for the pipeline’s construction “crosses the fence between the judicial power and the legislative power.”

Appeals Judge James A. Wynn acknowledged, “If we grant the motion, this is probably the last time we’re going to see it.”