West Virginia trout stocking

The Free Press WV

The following waters were stocked the week of February 25, 2019:

Bear Rocks Lake
Beech Fork Tailwaters
Big Sandy Creek
Blackwater River
Brandywine Lake
Brushy Fork Lake
Buckhannon River
Buffalo Creek (Logan)
Buffalo Fork Lake
Burnsville Tailwaters
Cherry River
Coopers Rock Lake
Cranberry River
Curtisville Lake
Deer Creek (Pocahontas)
Dillons Run
Dry Fork (Tucker)
Dunloup Creek
East Lynn Tailwaters
Edwards Run and Pond
Elk River
Fort Ashby Reservoir
Glade Creek of Mann
Glade Creek of New River
Greenbrier River
Greenbrier River (Cass section)
Horseshoe Run
Huey Lake
Indian Creek
Laurel Creek of New River
Left Fork of Right Fork of Buckhannon River
Lick Creek Pond
Lost River
Mill Creek of South Branch
New Creek Dam No. 14
North Fork of Cherry River
North Fork South Branch
North River
Paw Paw Creek
Raleigh County Airport Pond (Children & Class Q)
Rockhouse Lake
Rollins Lake
South Fork of Cherry River
South Fork of Cranberry River
Spruce Laurel Fork
Stonewall Jackson Tailwaters
Summit Lake
Sutton Tailwaters
Trout Run
Tygart Valley River Headwaters
Waites Run
Warden Lake
Wayne Dam
West Fork of Twelvepole
Wheeling Creek
Whiteday Creek

12th annual Southern West Virginia Spring Eagle Survey and Winter Birding Weekend March 01-03, 2019

The Free Press WV

Eagles, birds of prey and winter bird watching are the focus of the 12th annual Spring Eagle Survey of the Bluestone/Pipestem area and Winter Birding Weekend March 01-03 at Pipestem Resort State Park. Registration is requested before February 28.

“The January survey recorded 58 eagle sightings during the four-hour survey period,” said Julie McQuade, naturalist at Pipestem Resort State Park. “The March survey could also result in a high number with volunteers scattered throughout the area monitoring eagle sightings and nests.”

The weekend includes additional programs. “Birding 101: Be Better at Bird Watching” is at 7 p.m. in the Cardinal Room at Pipestem’s McKeever Lodge. Instruction will be provided on how to use binoculars and tips and tricks to bird identification, field marking and field guide use. Discussion about the Saturday eagle survey, how it is organized and history of the surveys rounds out the evening.

The Eagle Survey begins Saturday at 10 a.m. and runs until 2 p.m. Participants will gather at 9:15 a.m. and transportation will be provided to the survey site at The Pit Area of Bluestone Lake. The four-hour survey pairs professional birders with novice or beginning bird watchers and assigns them to survey observation sites to look for golden and bald eagles.

“This has become a special event in the Pipestem area and over the years we have recognized an increase in golden and bald eagle nests and sightings. We watch the skies snow, rain or shine,” said McQuade.

McQuade and others, including Jim Phillips, former Pipestem naturalist, organize the survey teams and leaders. Multiple sites are determined based on the number of people who confirm participation. Everyone is contacted in advance with instructions and the survey locations. When the survey concludes at 2 p.m., all teams meet in Hinton to compare and compile notes.

Saturday evening’s program is “Wings of Wonder – Birds of Prey” with Three Rivers Avian Center at 7 p.m. The program is free and open to the public. Staff will talk about the habitat, diet and behavior of each bird presented, the most common causes of injury to each species and the laws protecting them.

Special guests from the Bibbee Nature Club and from Hanging Rock Raptor Observatory Tower will be on hand during the Live Birds of Prey program to answer questions about migratory birds, birds of southern West Virginia, getting involved in Bibbee Nature Club hikes and activities, as well as how to find Hanging Rock Observatory and the best time to visit.

Sunday at 8:15 a.m., a winter bird walk with McQuade completes the birding weekend.

Lake Erie the Subject of Unusual Ballot Question

The Free Press WV

This week, residents of Toledo, Ohio, will vote on what the New York Times describes as one of the most unusual ballot questions ever to appear in the US—whether to grant Lake Erie the same rights as a human. Specifically, residents will vote on whether to accept the Lake Erie Bill of Rights, which would accord the lake the same protections as a person or a corporation. Backers say it’s necessary to save the lake from pollution, while opponents, including local farmers, say it will prove to be too expensive. Details:

  • The vote: It takes place Feb. 26. The initiative declares that “Lake Erie, and the Lake Erie watershed, possess the right to exist, flourish, and naturally evolve.“ If the measure passes, residents would be able to sue polluters to protect the lake.
  • The reason: As explains, the impetus came out of 2014, when Toledo couldn’t use its water supply (drawn from the lake) for three days because of bacteria. “It’s not just us going, ‘In case something bad happens.‘ Something bad did happen,“ says organizer Markie Miller. Current environmental laws just aren’t strong enough, backers say.
  • The precedent: Other US cities have undertaken similar initiatives, but never anything on this scale—this is “effectively giving personhood to a gigantic lake,“ per the Guardian. Indeed, Erie is the world’s 11th largest lake, according to the Times. Worldwide, similar initiatives have been undertaken, including one to protect the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. “The drafters of the Lake Erie Bill of Rights in Toledo share this understanding, that existing environmental laws are simply not sufficient to protect and restore the lake,“ says one of the Australian organizers.
  • The complication: It goes back to Erie’s size. The lake affects four states, other cities (including Buffalo and Cleveland), and even a province in Canada. So would someone in Toledo be able to sue a polluter in Cleveland? Yes, say the backers. But their big hope is that other municipalities pass similar ordinances.
  • Opponents: They’ve taken out attacks on local radio accusing out-of-state extremists of being behind the initiative, reports the Toledo Blade. Local organizers, including members of Toledoans for Safe Water, says that’s absurd and offensive. Foes call the measure “reckless and legally dubious” and say it will threaten jobs.

WVDA Offers Tips in Lieu of Hay Shortage

The Free Press WV

Due to recent concerns of a potential hay shortage in West Virginia, the West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA), Farm Service Agency (FSA) and WVU Extension Services are offering cattle farmers tips on how to maintain a healthy herd.

“Odds are we still have six weeks left of winter, if not more. With being halfway through the winter feed season, farmers must take stock if they have enough hay to keep a well-fed and healthy herd,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt. “If hay is in short supply, farmers will want to avoid turning cattle out too early as it could have affects on pasture feeding for next summer.”

A potential hay shortage is most likely due to an unusually wet 2018. The increased rainfall lead to ruined and reduced hay crops. The WVDA is working with FSA county offices and WVU County Extension agents to help farmers locate hay supplies or work through alternative feeding methods.

“Producers seeking hay or those selling hay are encouraged to contact their Farm Service Agency county office, located within their local USDA Service Center,” said FSA State Executive Director Roger Dahmer. “These lists are available to the public and can help connect sellers, buyers and those in need.”

The WVDA, FSA and WVU Extension Services are offering the following tips:

  • Inventory the hay supply on hand and compare it to feed demand. Cattle prefer to eat about 2.5% of their body weight in hay dry matter. That is about 28 lbs. of air-dry hay per 1000 lbs. body weight.

  • Locate available hay, straw or corn fodder for purchase. This could mean trucking in feed from other states. Hay is generally the least costly feed for beef cattle.

  • Consider limiting the hay to the animal’s nutritional requirement. But be careful in doing so as cows need to be in a body condition score of 5 or 6 at calving, if they are to conceive the next calf on time.

  • Keeping the body condition up on cows in cold weather helps reduce feed demand for maintaining body heat. Fat provides insulation from the cold and helps reduce shivering.

  • Alternative sources of feed are soybean hull pellets, wheat midds, whole cotton seed or cotton seed hulls. These fibers are high in protein and should be available in West Virginia depending on your location in the state.

  • Other good sources of protein include dry distiller’s grain, corn gluten feed or soybean. These feeds provide good energy without any starch that would limit the digestibility of hay.

  • Corn is often the go-to feed when hay supply is limited. However, corn is high in starch. If adequate protein is not mixed with the corn, this ends up reducing the digestibility of fiber in hay. A 14 percent crude protein feed made from commodity by-products without any corn (limiting the starch) is another good option.

“Farmers need to wait to turn out their herds until around April 15 in low elevations and May 10 in higher evaluations. Proper planning and working with your fellow farmers are ways to keep the heard healthy until that time,” Leonhardt said.

To locate your local county FSA office: 

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