ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Here is a round-up of the latest outdoors news from across the region.

Sweet Candy Darter News

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFW) reports promising developments when it comes to restoring endangered candy darter populations. The tiny, colorful fish are only found in few streams in Virginia and West Virginia. Now, the USFW has been able to replicate their spawning habitat at a West Virginia fish hatchery.

A brightly-colored candy darter

So far, the program has been a success and a number of juvenile candy darters raised at the hatchery have been released back into the wild.


Cold temperatures and winter weather are forecast for the Christmas holiday weekend. The cold does not stop many people from fishing, hunting, hiking, or taking part in many other outdoors sports. However there are some precautions people should take before heading out into the elements.

WFXR Meteorologist Kara Thompson had this advice: “One of the main things is to monitor the forecast. Make sure that you have all of the items that you need to wear if you’re going to be outside for long periods of time. One of the big things is definitely wearing layers, and in materials that you have more of those synthetics, anything that wicks away moisture.”

So, is there any material you should try to stay away from for these conditions?

The answer is cotton. It will hold moisture, and that could make you cold and lead to more serious problems.

Cardinal Rule

Cardinals in winter (Photo: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service)

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says winter is a great time to observe cardinals in the wild. The birds tend to flock together when the weather turns cold, and a blanket of snow makes the bright red birds stand out, and makes them easier to see.

Salamanders & Snow

Snow and ice are good for salamanders. While salamanders in Virginia do not actually frolic in the snow, it does create habitat for them in warmer months.

A Big Levels salamander native only to Virginia (Photo: George Noleff)

Snow and ice weigh can weigh down tree limbs and bring them to the ground. Those limbs then provide a place for salamanders to live and thrive when they emerge from hibernation.

Salute to Santa

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (VDWR) and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) have issued a permit to Santa Claus to bring his reindeer into Virginia on Christmas Eve.

Anyone who transports or possesses a ruminant, and deer are ruminants, must have the approval of VDWR and VDACS. Santa is no exception.
The permit issued by Dr. Charlie Broaddus, State Veterinarian, specifically covers eight tiny reindeer, as well as one rare, red-nosed reindeer.

Santa Claus in sleigh pulled by reindeer