VT gray fox study

In the last twenty years, gray fox populations in North America have been declining.

While there haven’t been any official studies on gray foxes in Virginia, reports from various sources suggest fewer sightings, vocalizations, and camera captures in the state over the past decade.

To address this worrying trend, the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources is backing the Virginia Gray Fox Project led by Virginia Tech (VT).

The project’s main goal is to map where gray foxes currently are in Virginia and assess if their numbers are dropping by analyzing historical data over the state.

To achieve this, researchers plan to do a thorough camera survey all over Virginia.

To carry out this large-scale survey effectively, the research team needs volunteers who:

1. Already have trail cameras set up on their property.
2. Are willing to use and watch project cameras (if provided) on their property.
3. Are okay with letting researchers access their land to set up additional cameras.

Volunteers will need to follow specific rules for where to put cameras and how to collect data.

Checking the cameras to make sure they’re working and have enough battery life will be required.

The survey will take three years, with the focus of the 2024 field season being on the Appalachian Mountain region.

If you want to get involved with the Virginia Gray Fox Project, you can contact Victoria Monette by email at vmonette@vt.edu or leave a voicemail for Dr. Kelly at 540-231-1734.

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Emerald ash borer cash-share program

Virginia Department of Forestry used by permission from VDF Communication Specialist Cory Swift-Turner

Boosting the odds of safeguarding the genetic diversity of ash trees statewide, the initiative to treat these trees against the invasive Emerald Ash Borer is gaining momentum.

Through the Emerald Ash Borer Treatment Cost-Share Program, landowners and organizations can receive support covering up to half of the expenses for treating ash trees via stem injections with

This assistance caps at $7.50 per inch diameter at breast height for individual landowners, with a maximum cost-share payment of $1,250, while organizations can receive up to $5,000 in cost-share payments.

Virginia landowners and various entities such as municipalities, nonprofits, educational institutions, and homeowner associations qualify as eligible applicants for the program.

To be considered eligible, the trees must belong to the species of green, white, black, blue, pumpkin, or Carolina ash, with a diameter at breast height (DBH) of at least 12 inches.

Additionally, eligible trees must not exhibit more than a 30% crown loss, ensuring a minimum of 70% live crown. Before enrollment, all trees must undergo assessment by a forester from the Department of Forestry (DOF).
To apply,  please contact:
Connor D. Goolsby
Primary contact for: Clarke, Frederick, Warren, Winchester City
Title: Natural Resource Specialist
Email: connor.goolsby@DOF.virginia.gov
Primary Phone: (434)365-8225
Office Location: Woodstock Office

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Riparian forest funding

Virginia Department of Forestry used by permission from VDF Communication Specialist Cory Swift-Turner

The Virginia Department of Forestry is now accepting applications for Riparian Forests for Landowners Program project funding.

This is a new statewide landowner assistance program that helps landowners create riparian forest buffer.

Selected service providers will facilitate the installation of, and one year of maintenance on, riparian forest buffers at no cost to the landowner.

Riparian forest buffers are areas near streams, lakes, or wetlands that contain a combination of trees, shrubs, and other perennial plants, primarily to provide conservation benefits.

Riparian forest buffers filter nutrients, pesticides and animal waste from agricultural land runoff, filtering sediment from runoff, stabilizing eroding banks, providing shade, shelter and food for fish and provide wildlife.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.