Coyote Study Underway In Bath And Highland Counties
Warm Springs, Va – A coyote study is underway for Bath and Highland counties. This is District Ranger Patrick Sheridan for the Warm Springs Ranger District.
Virginia Tech, in conjunction with the Forest Service and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fish is conducting a comprehensive three year study on coyotes on National Forest lands in Bath and Highland counties. This study will evaluate coyote range, diet and population using radio collars and scat studies among other techniques. The study began in June of 2011.
The Secure Rural Schools Act returns National Forest revenues to counties for natural resource projects. The US Department of Agriculture has established the Resource Advisory Committee to work with the George Washington – Jefferson National Forests and localities to manage projects and funding. The process of planning and implementing projects with counties in conjunction with the Resource Advisory Committee established by the USDA is now underway. Projects should be submitted by July 24. The final decision on project funding will be made by the Forest Service in early September.
Nationally the Forest Service continues to address the cost of managing our National Forests with the funding made available for this important mission in these challenging times. The George Washington-Jefferson National Forest must balance the amount and type of work we accomplish with anticipated levels of funding. As funding levels decline, the amount of goods and services may decline.
The public will notice some changes on the James River and Warm Springs Ranger Districts as the 2011 season progresses. In an effort to match up our current levels of funding with our program of work, reductions in services are taking place in several areas. The levels of road maintenance will decrease and the level of recreation maintenance, including mowing and cleaning at campgrounds will also decline.
The Longdale Day Use area will open with reduced services, but the fee will be waived. In 2012 more decisions will be made as to the best way to meet the public needs within the anticipated levels of funding. We will consider contracting the recreation operations at Lake Moomaw and Blowing Springs to private vendors. These vendors would manage the recreation operations under Forest Service standards and guidelines on a for-profit basis.